Friday, October 17, 2008


I was hoping to get up at least one review this week but it turned out to be a busier week than normal and I didn't have much spare time in the evenings. This weekend I plan to get up a review on Probability Moon by Nancy Kress and perhaps a "post-discussion" post on Camp Concentration. If I can just get that one review done, I will be most of the way caught up since I just have the one on Elizabeth Bear's "The Stratford Man" duology left other than that. I'm reading two long books right now to give myself some time to get caught up - The Court of the Air by Stephen Hunt and The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks. Since I've barely had any time to read this week, that's working out well as far as not reading more than writing goes.

Clarkesworld Books is temporarily open again for those of you who are addicted like I am. I'm still trying to figure out just what to order and have been working on narrowing down my list of potential buys. If anyone has any feedback on why I should or should not get the following books let me know:

Foreigner by C.J. Cherryh
The Onion Girl by Charles de Lint
A Sundial in a Grave by Mary Gentle
Nekropolis by Maureen McHugh
Sunshine by Robin McKinley
A Princess of Roumania by Paul Park (they have signed copies of this one)
Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds (I'll probably wait on this one since I apparently need to be on vacation to read his books and I'm sure I won't be having one of those for a while)
Sister Light, Sister Dark by Jane Yolen
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (think this is a must buy from what I've heard)

They're all fairly cheap (about $8 for most of the trade paperbacks and $3-$4 for mass market) and I'm not sure what to get. Other than Yolen, McKinley and Reynolds, I haven't read anything by the authors in the above list (yet).


Anonymous said...

I've read three of those over the past year: FOREIGNER, SUNSHINE and THE SHADOW OF THE WIND. All three came highly recommended, but I was slightly disappointed with each of them.

I found Cherryh's style off-putting at times, though her premise was interesting. I also had trouble engaging with the main character. I figured out what was going on almost right away, and I became increasingly frustrated with him as he failed to make the connections.

SUNSHINE was very enjoyable, but once again I had some trouble connecting with the main character. The worldbuilding was tops, though.

I mostly enjoyed THE SHADOW OF THE WIND, but I felt like the big reveal was a real let-down. Zafon devotes about a hundred pages to it, which I think is far too long for that sort of thing. I'm definitely in the minority here, though; everyone else I know has loved it.

Kristen said...


Thanks for your thoughts on the books you've read!

Foreigner sounded very interesting and I heard it was one of Cherryh's better novels. I have heard some complaints about the writing style, though. What problems did you have with the main character or was it all just a problem with his being slow when it came to the obvious?

Have you read any of McKinley's other books? How does Sunshine compare? I like McKinley's books but have never read any of her non YA novels so I am interested in that, although vampire novels aren't something I normally read.

I don't think I've heard of anyone not liking The Shadow of the Wind (although there are some people like you who didn't seem to think it was quite as good as they had heard). It's definitely one I'll have to try at some point.

Anonymous said...

Cherryh writes in strict third person, so a lot of the narrative is filtered through the main character's head. I found it to be a pretty accurate representation of how he'd think, but I often felt like I was decoding his thoughts. The style was great over short stretches, and I think I'd really have enjoyed it in a short story, but it didn't work for me over the course of an entire novel.

Maybe because I was always at a distance from him, I never really clicked with Bren. He was just someone in a book; I didn't really feel much of anything for him.

I've read several of McKinley's other books, as well as some of her short fiction. I'd say SUNSHINE is among the best; I enjoyed it as much as THE HERO AND THE CROWN, which was my previous favourite. And even though it's billed as a vampire novel, I think it's fairly accessible even for readers who aren't so fond of the vampires.

Kristen said...


Thanks! I don't like feeling distanced from characters, either, so I'm not sure what I'll think of Foreigner. That was one of the ones I ended up ordering, but I didn't order Sunshine (mostly because the latter was not one of the $3 - $4 mass market paperbacks while the former was). I'm sure I'll get it at some point; I love McKinley (The Hero and the Crown was great).

Have you read Deerskin? That's another McKinley books I have yet to read but really want to.

Anonymous said...

I've got a massive order pending on Clarkesworld Books as well - and Sister Light, Sister Dark is on the list (I think...). I've definitely wanted to read that for a while.

Chasm City - yes. My favorite of Reynolds' books. It had bits of Perdido Street Station, with a fantastic, twisted metropolis, space opera, horror, a detective run-and-chase story, a totally cool and unexpected plot twist at the end (did *not* see that coming). The only detractor is that the book is enormously long, so the beginning takes some time to get going.

Nekropolis - yes. It's weird, but good.

Kristen said...


I did end up ordering Sister Light, Sister Dark as well. It was pretty cheap and I like Jane Yolen. Nekropolis was another one I ordered, although I decided to wait on Chasm City since I probably wouldn't read it immediately. If it's your favorite Reynolds book, maybe I should read it sooner than I'd planned, though.

Other than the Yolen and McHugh books, I ordered The Shadow of the Wind, Foreigner, and In the Forests of Serre (since I have yet to read anything by Patricia McKillip).