Tag: Leigh Bardugo

WWW Wednesday

Posted July 15, 2020 by Nicky in General / 6 Comments

It’s Wednesday again! So here’s the usual check-in. You can go to Taking On A World Of Words to chat with everyone else who has posted what they’re reading right now!

Cover of The Grace of Kings by Ken LiuWhat are you currently reading?

Fiction: The Grace of Kings, by Ken Liu. I was warned by friends who found it really slow that I might not like it… well, I’m not sure about the liking it or not, but I’m definitely not finding it too slow. I haven’t read for a day or two because I wasn’t feeling like it, but I’ve been reading it in chunks whenever I do.

Non-fiction: The Story of the Dinosaurs in 25 Discoveries, by Donald R. Prothero, which the library ordered for me in ebook on my request. It would probably be better in pbook format because it’s got a lot of pictures, but it’s not so bad in ebook; I’m glad I’m reading it, but also glad I didn’t buy it for £27! It’s nothing I haven’t read before, but it’s always fun to spend some time with dinosaurs.

Cover of Ring Shout by P. Djeli ClarkWhat have you recently finished reading? 

Uhhh, interesting question.  Oh: Ring Shout, by P. Djèlí Clark. I’m still thinking this one over. I found the idea of members of the Ku Klux Klan being literal monsters a bit… simplistic? That’s not quite the word I want. Obvious? And I never wholly warmed to it, though I appreciated a lot of aspects of the novella. I want to read around some other reviews and see if they help it click into place for me, before I write my review. (And of course Tor used to say not to post a review until two weeks before publication; I still stick to that, though most bloggers don’t… I’m auto-approved on Netgalley, though, so I don’t see that approval message anymore.)

Cover of The Lost Boys by Gina PerryWhat will you be reading next?

Still Ninth House, most likely; I’m also eyeing The Lost Boys, by Gina Perry — I was eager to read it anyway, and now it fits a book club prompt (as a book in the 300s in the Dewey Decimal System). I loved Perry’s book on Stanley Milgram’s experiments, and it looks like she’s done much the same here with pulling apart Sherif Muzafer’s experiments a bit and examining how they tick and where they go wrong.

So what are you reading at the moment?

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WWW Wednesday

Posted July 8, 2020 by Nicky in General / 7 Comments

It’s Wednesday again! So here’s the usual check-in. You can go to Taking On A World Of Words to chat with everyone else who has posted what they’re reading right now!

Cover of Invasive Aliens by Dan EatherleyWhat are you currently reading? 

Actively, I think it’s pretty much just Brit(ish) by Afua Hirsch — my loan got renewed from the library even though there were people in the queue, which is weird but I’m not arguing, because it lets me take my time and let it sink in a bit more — and Invasive Aliens, by Dan Eatherley, which I will probably sit down and finish as soon as I get done with this post.

Invasive Aliens is okay, but it feels a bit scattered; there are themes to the chapters, but it starts becoming a bit “and ANOTHER thing” after a while.

Cover of Of Dragons, Feasts and Murders by Aliette De BodardWhat have you recently finished reading?

I read Aliette de Bodard’s Of Dragons, Feasts and Murders yesterday in a hot bath, and narrowly resisted the urge to arise dripping and covered in bubbles to read bits to my wife, since Asmodeus is definitely her sort of thing. Instead I took photos of the relevant pages and sent them to her via chat, circling the good bits in red. It was rather nice.

(And yes, she’s convinced and plans to read it.)

Cover of Ninth House by Leigh BardugoWhat will you be reading next?

Book club reads this month are Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo and The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu, and I’ve been meaning to read both more or less since they came out, so that’s probably something I’ll do soon. I’m probably in the mood for a palate-cleansing murder mystery from the British Library Crime Classics series first, and maybe an installment of the Whyborne & Griffin series by Jordan L. Hawk as well. I also have a wicked bad urge to reread John Scalzi’s Lock In, and I might just listen to it.

So basically, as usual, it’s anyone’s guess.

What are you currently reading?

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Review – The Language of Thorns

Posted October 23, 2017 by Nicky in Reviews / 2 Comments

Cover of The Language of Thorns by Leigh BardugoThe Language of Thorns, Leigh Bardugo

Received to review via Netgalley; publication date 26th September 2017

While these stories are set in Bardugo’s Grisha-verse, you don’t really need to have read those books (or remember them in great detail) if you fancy reading this: it’s a little collection of twisted fairytales, somewhat shaped by the world of the Grisha, somewhat just by Bardugo’s responses to old stories. There’s a version of Hansel and Gretel, a sort of prequel to ‘The Little Mermaid’, a retelling of the story of the Nutcracker…

Each story has a certain magic, and Bardugo handles them well: they feel like fairytales, while also feeling fresh and new. I liked Ulla’s story in particular, the last one in the collection — but I liked the perspective Bardugo took on each of them. For example, the sting in the tail of her Hansel and Gretel retelling… But I’d better not say too much.

Suffice it to say it’s a great little collection, and it’s probably going to be a beautiful book in hardcopy, too. I recommend it if you love fairytale retellings as well as if you’re a fan of the Grisha-verse.

Rating: 4/5

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Review – Ruin and Rising

Posted January 11, 2016 by Nicky in Reviews / 4 Comments

Cover of Ruin and Rising by Leigh BardugoRuin and Rising, Leigh Bardugo

As I’d hoped, Ruin and Rising is better paced than Siege and Storm, to my mind. Although some notable folks thought the opposite, so I suppose it really does depend on what you’re most interested in. I did enjoy the twist with the third amplifier, and the fact that finally they really got on track to deal with that plotline — so much of book two was spent wanting to deal with it and going back and forth on whether it was a good idea, etc, etc.

I did like the continued development of Alina’s character, and the way things worked out with that — the way she had to learn to deal with the things she had to do, and how ruthless she tried to be. How power had a hold on her as surely as it did on the Darkling, and on the pity she felt for the Darkling even despite his behaviour. I think you can judge a person (or character) by how they treat vanquished enemies, and Alina was generous about it: she remembered the Darkling’s name, made sure his wishes were honoured, etc. And I enjoyed Nikolai’s development, too, though I think a lot of the drama and interest with what happened to him was elided for the sake of Alina and Mal’s story. Which makes sense, since Alina is the narrator, but… I’d still like to have seen more of Nikolai. He is the sassiest, and also the most capable character.

All in all, I think it was a good conclusion to the trilogy, and I’m looking forward to seeing this world from a different angle in Six of Crows. Here’s hoping it’s as good as everyone says!

Rating: 4/5

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Review – Siege and Storm

Posted January 3, 2016 by Nicky in Reviews / 4 Comments

Cover of Siege and Storm by Leigh BardugoSiege and Storm, Leigh Bardugo

Siege and Storm, the second Grisha book, wasn’t quite as absorbing as the first, Shadow and Bone — though that would be difficult, since I read the first half of Shadow and Bone while walking back from the library. I’m not even kidding. I think the pacing was a bit off here, and the fact that the book is almost 100 pages longer did it no actual favours. It’s still a pretty quick read, but the extra 80 pages felt like unneeded bulk.

Or perhaps that’s the added time I spent disbelieving that Mal would keep being such an idiot. He plays right into the hands of his rivals. It’s like he liked Alina when she wasn’t powerful, when she needed him to look after her, and he could feel superior because he was taking care of her, he was the only one who saw her worth, etc. Granted, Alina herself is changing (and I liked that journey, the way the power is changing her and the conflict she feels about it) and of course that concerns him, but it doesn’t seem to be about that. He just doesn’t like that she’s no longer devoted to him and that she’s no longer his to protect.

Which is, well. Kinda gross.

Nikolai, on the other hand, is pretty awesome in all his guises. I like that the way he acts is carefully examined — he’s manipulative, and he knows it and uses it, but at the same time, he’s not 100% comfortable with it. He seems to care about his mother and about Alina. He also genuinely cares about his country, rather than wanting power for the sake of power. And unlike Mal, he’s very clear about what he wants and expects of Alina.

The Darkling isn’t much in evidence here, with just a handful of scenes. That leaves the book a little lacking, I think; his opposition isn’t enough felt for a good 100-150 pages in the middle. It makes the showdown at the end very sudden. I’m not mourning the loss of his manipulation of Alina — interesting parallel to Nikolai, who is at least open about it — but he felt a little… lacking in bite.

I’m interested to read the third book, and hopefully it’ll get more of the momentum back. This seems like a lot of criticisms, but I did enjoy Siege and Storm enough not to drop it another star.

Rating: 4/5

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Review – Shadow and Bone

Posted October 19, 2015 by Nicky in Reviews / 2 Comments

Cover of Shadow and Bone by Leigh BardugoShadow and Bone, Leigh Bardugo

I was vaguely not-interested in Shadow and Bone after reading a couple of negative reviews, which I think particularly mentioned the Russian influences and then overall not-Russian-at-all, fairly typical fantasy world setting. This is true, and if it’s something that will bother you, then yes, steer clear. However… I picked this up from the library at five o’ clock, walked to the station, got the train home, walked up the hill home, mostly without reading… and by six o’ clock, had got two thirds of the way through the book anyway. It was a fast read, and it was compelling.

Now granted, yeah, there’s some typical YA stuff going on — there’s a love triangle, for one. It came across quite well for me, though. I think it helped that Mal and Alina have such a clear bond, which has been confused in realistic ways as they grew up. And the Darkling has an obvious allure, and you can see why people trust him, want to be near him. I like the development of Alina’s powers, and her interactions with people around her. For a book with a guy called the Darkling and a main character who is a “Sun Summoner”, there’s a fair amount of ambiguity going on — there are several characters who don’t clearly align on a good/bad matrix.

Overall… I don’t quite know why I enjoyed this so much. Probably it matched my mood, in part, and it wasn’t a challenging read, while I wasn’t in a great mood. I’ll be interested to see how I react to the second and third books.

Rating: 4/5

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