rachelmanija: (Book Fix)
rachelmanija ([personal profile] rachelmanija) wrote2008-12-29 10:58 am

December reading

This is not all that I read in December! I am not noting books and manga for which I still hold out hope of writing longer reviews.

King of Thorn v 5-6, by Yuji Iwahara. Conclusion of post-apocalyptic manga series. Some reasonably interesting plot twists, of which the most surprising, in a sad commentary on society, was that the black guy didn’t die. The giant toad was still the highlight of a not terribly memorable series.

Absolute Boyfriend 4-6, by Watase Yu. Conclusion of romantic fantasy about a robot boyfriend. The ending did not make it any less fluffy, despite whatever Watase Yu might have thought when writing it.

Element Line 2, by Mamiya Takizaki. Less coherent than Fairy Cube but not half as pretty.

Everyday Survival, by Laurence Gonzales. Terrible sequel to Gonzales’ excellent Deep Survival. Theoretically about how people make bad choices, but the meat of that was in his first book. This jumps from anecdote to anecdote of varying relevance, and ends in outer space (both literally and metaphorically.) Padded, jumbled, and random.

Graceling, by Kristin Cashore. YA fantasy. Excellent characterization overcomes clunky prose. I’ll review this in Green Man Review.

Rumble Tumble, by Joe Lansdale. Funny, gripping, and even darker than usual installment of his series about small Texas towns and the badass eccentrics who inhabit them. The final action sequence (how many people get shot?) seemed to come out of a totally different and much more conventional novel. The earlier novels had a manic energy that softened the brutal lives of the characters; this one was just depressing.

Victory of Eagles, by Naomi Novik. Great Temeraire POV, great new dragon character; exciting, dark, develops the relationship between dragons and humans, left me wanting more. Tharkay gets around; his actions at the very end convinced me even more than I was already convinced that he either has a secret agenda, or else is in love with Laurence. Possibly both.

The Dead and Gone, by Susan Beth Pfeffer. Gloomy but less powerful sequel to the winner of the YA Agony Award. Good try with the Puerto Rican/New Yorker religious teenage boy narrator; sadly, I did not find him very interesting or convincing. Only a few scenes packed the punch of Life as We Knew It: the makeshift morgue, the tree branch, the elevator. Still, it succeeded in depressing me.

A Citizen of the Country, by Sarah Smith,

I liked this much more than The Knowledge of Water but not half as much as The Vanished Child.

After the birth of their son, Perdita goes on tour in America while Reisden investigates a crime on a movie set. The director, Andre, is yet another figure from Reisden’s past, and runs a Grand Guignol theatre in which he plays a deathly narrator called Necrosar. Andre, his alter ego Necrosar, and his plays are vivid and creepy. The backstage drama and moviemaking mechanics are fascinating.

There are several mysteries, which all attempt to tie into Reisden and Perdita’s storyline, which is about the difficulty of either escaping coming to terms with one’s family, one’s past, and one’s present. The tie-ins tended to be a bit forced and anvillicious. And I still don’t understand who committed the final murder or why. The mystery bit of this book was not very successful, and I could have done without it.

Though this was a gripping read, on the whole it might have been best if Smith had gone on to write unconnected novels after The Vanished Child.
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[identity profile] coffeeandink.livejournal.com 2008-12-29 07:20 pm (UTC)(link)
But do skip Smith's unrelated Shakespeare novel; it's awful.

[identity profile] sdn.livejournal.com 2008-12-30 04:07 am (UTC)(link)
Still, it succeeded in depressing me

i just couldn't read either of these books. i don't want to finish a book and want to kill myself. lots of people loved them, though ...
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[personal profile] larryhammer 2008-12-30 05:37 am (UTC)(link)
I confess I was somewhat disappointed in King of Thorn, especially after liking Chikyuu Misaki so much ...


[identity profile] jinian.livejournal.com 2008-12-30 05:45 pm (UTC)(link)
Necrosar! How awesome is that?

[identity profile] oracne.livejournal.com 2008-12-30 07:35 pm (UTC)(link)
A CITIZEN OF THE COUNTRY makes a neat paired read with Judith Ivory's DANCE, because of the silent movie angle.