Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Leaning Pile of Books

This was a pretty good week for books. Also, I'm almost to the point where I can start reviewing books read in 2010, which makes me happy since that means I'm closer to caught up with reviews than I have been since before the holidays. Right now I have one review about halfway written that I am hoping to put up tomorrow and after that there are only two more to go (with another book almost finished, but three is not too far behind, especially with more recently read books).

Now on to books received this week.

The Summer Queen by Joan D. Vinge

My very favorite book read last year ended up being the last book I read in 2009, The Snow Queen, so of course I had to order the sequel soon after reading it. I read part of the first chapter and cannot wait to read it although I have told myself I cannot until I have reviewed The Snow Queen (which I'm working on a review of now). This is one I will definitely need to read sometime in the near future even if it is so massive it will probably take me forever to do so.

Salt of the Air by Vera Nazarian

Since I ordered The Summer Queen, I got another book so I could get free shipping. Normally I don't buy short story collections, but I do have a soft spot for fairy tales and couldn't resist when I saw this had some, including a retelling of my favorite "Beauty and the Beast." Also, I really like Vera Nazarian's writing style. Plus it includes "Lore of Rainbow," which is set in the same world as Lords of Rainbow, the novel I read by this author (and loved).

Warriors edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois

This was another unexpected ARC, and one I was very excited to receive - I'll definitely be reading this anthology. It includes a new Dunk and Egg story set in the same world as George R. R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" plus stories by many other authors such as Robin Hobb, Peter S. Beagle, Naomi Novik, Diana Gabaldon, David Weber, Carrie Vaughn, Tad Williams and Robert Silverberg. It will be released on March 16.

Sea Dragon Heir by Storm Constantine

This is the first book in "The Chronicles of Magravandias" trilogy. A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that a friend and I made a deal to read each other's three favorite books from last year in 2010. She sent me the ones I didn't already have and this was one of them. It was her very favorite from last year (well, actually I think the third book in this series was but that's not really a good starting point) so I'm supposed to read it sometime by the end of February. Even though I loved Constantine's Wraeththu books and really liked her short story collection The Oracle Lips, I must admit I'm actually a bit nervous about reading this one. I've heard it is one of her weaker books and the reviews for it are very mixed.


Fyrefly said...

I liked Sea Dragon Heir well enough, but the second book in that series nearly bored me to tears... it put me off of reading for nearly two weeks! I haven't read any of Constantine's other series, though, so I can't compare.

Anastasia said...

The Summer Queen is great. I re-read it last year. It's romantic and melancholy and sweeping. Things happen and are resolved. I like it as much as or even more than The Snow Queen.

I don't like short stories either, they are hard for me to read, and Salt of the Air was the first collection that I really enjoyed. (OK, I lie, I think I read Ted Chiang's Stories of Your Life before that, and that also blew me away.) I didn't read it all in one go, but picking stories from the middle here and there. The voice is strong and lyrical, the stories are almost all written as fairytales. I'm cuious what you'll think of the take on Princess and the Pea. Swans stands out to me also.

Sea Dragon Heir really left me cold. There's a switch of the POV midway through the book, and I lost all interest them. If I were you, I'd read some of her stronger books first before this one.

orannia said...

I'm embarrassed to say that even though I now own the first Wraeththu book I haven't read it. GRRRR! I need to do some rearranging and scheduling!

I read part of the first chapter and cannot wait to read it although I have told myself I cannot until I have reviewed The Snow Queen...

That's like my deal with myself out writing the review for The Mirador (which I read 6 months ago) before reading Corambis...

Kristen said...

Fyrefly - I've heard that before too - that Sea Dragon Heir was decent but the rest of the series was boring. There seem to be some very mixed opinions about that particular series.

Anastasia - I'm really looking forward to reading The Summer Queen - it sounds wonderful. If it is even close to as good as The Snow Queen, I'll be pretty happy with it since that's one of my new favorite books ever.

Once in a while I like short stories, but I also find it difficult to go through a whole collection of them in one go. When I read The Oracle Lips it took me a few months since I just read it some here and there. With Salt of the Air, I figured it would at least have beautiful writing and I was excited to see there were retellings of both The Princess and the Pea and Beauty and the Beast.

I already promised to read whatever books were picked for me, so I'll read Sea Dragon Heir soon. But I did decide I absolutely MUST read Calenture this year because it has been sitting on my bookshelf unread for far too long, so I'll read that one sometime after that (not right away since I want to spread them out a little but sometime in the not-too-distant future).

Orannia - It is tough to manage the reading list when there are so many books waiting to be read. Don't feel too embarrassed, though - I don't even want to think about the number of books I own that I haven't read yet.

I can't wait to read your review of The Mirador and hear what you think of Corambis. Fortunately, I did finish a review of The Snow Queen so I can read the next book sometime soon!

Anastasia said...

Forgot to say - Miles Errant was great, too. One day I'm going to re-read all the Miles books.

I'm looking forward to your review of Snow Queen

Kristen said...

Anastasia - Miles Errant is a lot of fun and just what I was looking for right now (started to read Elizabeth Bear's Dust last night but decided I was in the mood for something lighter). The joys of three day weekends - I finished the novella this morning and started on Brothers in Arms. I need to get caught up on the series, especially since there is quite possibly going to be a new book coming out later this year (it is tentatively scheduled for November according to Bujold's website).

orannia said...

I'm going to try VERY hard to tackle my review of The Mirador this weekend. I think if I just sit down and write it, it won't take me as long as I think.

Oh, and I've ordered a copy of The Archer's Heart (Astrid Amara)!

Kristen said...

Orannia - I still haven't read The Archer's Heart but am really looking forward to reading it sometime over the next couple of months. Can't wait to hear what you think of it!