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Books We Are Reading 2019 [merged]

Capellan

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Keeping Up Appearances by Elizabeth Stevens
There's plenty of fun dialogue and snappy interaction in this high school rom-com, but some of the broader story elements are a bit on the weak side, not always especially plausible, and the female lead / POV character comes across as a rather wishy-washy personality at times.
 

Kraus

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Just finished the second and third books of The Riddle Master's Game trilogy by Patricia A McKillip (Heir of Sea and Fire, and Harpist in the Wind). I wish that I had read this series in my teens: it's a thoughtful and compassionate story about teenage characters navigating the awkward process of becoming independent adults, and their changing relationships with their parents, as well as a Tolkien-inspired epic that is it's own distinct thing, rather than feeling at all derivative.
 
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Capellan

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The Lost Steersman (Steerswoman Series Book 3) by Rosemary Kirstein
I loved the first two thirds of this. And intriguing mystery and fun new characters - I liked Steffie so much I didn't even mind the lack of Bel! The last act though, I found a bit of a drag. It was interesting, but definitely felt like a narrative detour.

On Equal Ground: A Pride and Prejudice Vagary by Elizabeth Adams
What if Elizabeth Bennet had more money and prestige than Firtzwilliam Darcy? Is basically the premise of this book. Like P&P itself, I think it is stronger in the feisty sparring sections of the relationship than in the actually falling for each other parts (and the epilogue feels very indulgent) but it's an engaging bit of light diversion overall
 

CaptainCrowbar

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It's often said that it's a bad idea to try to put any kind of Message in your fiction. For most authors that's probably good advice, but it's a good thing RF Kuang didn't listen. The Poppy War is, on one level, a sincere attempt to bring the Rape of Nanjing (about which Kuang wrote her thesis) to the attention of a Western audience. It's also a riveting, unputdownable fantasy action-adventure yarn.

Rin, our heroine, makes a desperate attempt to escape an arranged marriage in her provincial backwater hometown in Nikan (China-analogue) by taking the imperial civil service examination. To the surprise of everyone, not least herself, she aces the test and is accepted into Sinegard, the empire's elite military academy. There she learns that she has the talent to be a shaman, one who can summon the power of the gods - something almost nobody still believes exists. Then Nikan is invaded by the smaller but more technologically advanced nation of Mugen (Japan-analogue), and the cadets find themselves on the front lines much sooner than they expected. Rin is so desperate to use her new skills against the enemy that she doesn't stop to think that there might be a good reason why her teachers were reluctant to call on such powers even in a national emergency...

This is a book about the horrors of war, and Kuang doesn't shy away from describing atrocities in graphic (but never gratuitous) detail. This is not a book I'd recommend to anyone with PTSD. But if you're willing to give it a try in spite of that, it's one of the best books I've read in a long time, and I eagerly await the promised sequels.
 

Boris

I am invincible?
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Yeah, I really enjoyed The Poppy War, but it's seriously brutal. The Unit 731 analogue that turns up later, particularly.
 

Shay Guy

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Past the halfway point in The Lies of Locke Lamora, and... well, the Gray King has certainly entered the story in a big way.

Spoiler: Show
Dammit, I liked the childhood-friend mafia princess with the stabby boots.


"Nice bird, asshole." :D I know it'd be a really really bad idea, but I want to see the Gentleman Bastards off the Falconer. If anyone can figure out how to put Karthain off their scent, it'd be Locke.

Got a hypothesis about the Gray King. No more.
 

hammerbolt

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Past the halfway point in The Lies of Locke Lamora, and... well, the Gray King has certainly entered the story in a big way.

Spoiler: Show
Dammit, I liked the childhood-friend mafia princess with the stabby boots.


"Nice bird, asshole." :D I know it'd be a really really bad idea, but I want to see the Gentleman Bastards off the Falconer. If anyone can figure out how to put Karthain off their scent, it'd be Locke.

Got a hypothesis about the Gray King. No more.
That's a fantastic series. I heartly recomend all the books.
 

Oddsod Blok'ed

Revolution In Apt 29.
Validated User
Finished Wired for War. I don't know enough about science generally, but I understood everything he wrote about. Singer's books are not light reading and they're not exciting except for some war nerds or science dweebs, but they're always about something important. I have his book on cybersecurity, though I think I'm going to read something else first.

Possibly Fordlandia or Devil in the White City, though I also picked up Poul Anderson's Guardians of Time and Flandry of Terra, and I've never read any Anderson, so I might read one of those next. Or God's Little Acre or Grapes of Wrath or something, because I have a bunch of other books on my "owned for years and haven't read" stack.
 

rolanddarktower08

Registered User
Validated User
It's often said that it's a bad idea to try to put any kind of Message in your fiction. For most authors that's probably good advice, but it's a good thing RF Kuang didn't listen. The Poppy War is, on one level, a sincere attempt to bring the Rape of Nanjing (about which Kuang wrote her thesis) to the attention of a Western audience. It's also a riveting, unputdownable fantasy action-adventure yarn.

Rin, our heroine, makes a desperate attempt to escape an arranged marriage in her provincial backwater hometown in Nikan (China-analogue) by taking the imperial civil service examination. To the surprise of everyone, not least herself, she aces the test and is accepted into Sinegard, the empire's elite military academy. There she learns that she has the talent to be a shaman, one who can summon the power of the gods - something almost nobody still believes exists. Then Nikan is invaded by the smaller but more technologically advanced nation of Mugen (Japan-analogue), and the cadets find themselves on the front lines much sooner than they expected. Rin is so desperate to use her new skills against the enemy that she doesn't stop to think that there might be a good reason why her teachers were reluctant to call on such powers even in a national emergency...

This is a book about the horrors of war, and Kuang doesn't shy away from describing atrocities in graphic (but never gratuitous) detail. This is not a book I'd recommend to anyone with PTSD. But if you're willing to give it a try in spite of that, it's one of the best books I've read in a long time, and I eagerly await the promised sequels.
Yea, I finished it recently as well. Great and powerful read, and not afraid of the horrors of war.

Stephen Jones, creator - The Lovecraft Squad: Dreaming - A shared world setting for the Mythos. The Lovecraft Squad, more formally known as the Human Protection League, is a way off-the-books division of the FBI tasked with protecting the world from Mythos entities and the cults trying open the way for them. I think this is the 3rd book in the series, which starts with the raid on Innsmouth in the first book and over the course of the books moves forward in time...has now reached the late '60s/early 70s. Nice application of real world events to the Mythos, and one of those where the good guys lose sometimes.
 

Terhali

Serene Green Queen
Validated User
Read Nemesis by Isaac Asimov. Published in 1989, near the end of his life, the book doesn't have robots or overt references to other Asimov franchises, but could easily be an origin story for the Foundation universe. In fact, even though he earnestly protests in the preface that it's not a Foundation book, the copyright page says it is exactly that. It was alright, but clumsy and in need of aggressive pruning. I would recommend it to completist fans only.
 
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