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coprime

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coprime: animated icon of a boy reading intensely and then shouting "But I don't want it to be over!!" (books)
Thursday, February 19th, 2009 11:27 pm
I want the Trilogy bookcase so bad. Look how geometric and orderly it is! Sadly, I cannot afford it, and even if I could I have no place to put it. I think the Platzhalter bookcase is cool idea well-executed. It was my favorite bookcase until I saw the Trilogy one.

Uncharted Territory - Connie Willis
For the longest time, whenever I went into a bookstore, I had to remind myself that it was a bad idea to start collecting everything by an author when I'd only read one thing of hers, even if I had really enjoyed it. And that I already had two other novels of hers sitting on my shelf waiting to be read. So I finally decided to actually read one of those two novels, and I picked Uncharted Territory (rather than Lincoln's Dreams) because the premise sounded fun -- hijinks and adventures! exploration! needlessly ridiculous bureaucratic red tape! a socioexozoologist who specializes in sex! -- and it was short.

And I did really enjoy it until the end because nothing had changed in the end. Fin and Carson are the same at the end of the story as they were in the beginning. I would have been happy even if the end change had just been mental or if they'd decided that they didn't want to be in a relationship. Instead, I finished and was left with the impression that all the events in the book might as well have not happened for all the impact they had on Fin and Carson. Which is not what I would call a satisfying ending.

The Drakon #3: Queen of Dragons - Shana Abé
Ohh, I wanted to like this book. It's a historical romance about a race of dragon/human shapeshifters, and [livejournal.com profile] glenraven read and thought I'd like the first Drakon book. I picked up the third Drakon book first, but I thought I'd be okay because I've found that most romance series can be read out of order so long as you don't mind not knowing all the details when couples from previous books pop up. But it turns out this approach doesn't work so much for this series because when the hero from a previous book popped up, he was doing secretive, important-to-the-plot things and not a one of them was explained. I was left thoroughly confused, right in the middle of the final action scene.

I also had an issue with the fact that the entire action plot was just a set-up for the next book and nothing actually gets resolved. No, seriously, I very nearly threw the book across the room I was so frustrated with the ending. The book ends with spoilers if you care )

And then I had a lot of issues with the romance aspect of the novel. Partially, it's because I'm a bit sick of every shapeshifter/demon/animal hybrid/etc. having some sort of "animal instinct" where they must mate for life with one specific person and if that person isn't overly enthusiastic about them, then they just keep pursuing the person despite the other's wishes because their instinct tells them differently. It's very popular in paranormal romance, which is mostly what I read. And I don't like it because it dehumanizes the couple for me. There's always lots of talk about mates and alphas and such, and it's done regardless of whether our hero and heroine are dragon-shapeshifters, psychics, vampires, some form of were-. I can understand it more with the weres/shapeshifters, but why with other paranormal characters? Why can't the hero and heroine just fall head-over-heels for each other like normal, human romance couples do?

I will give Abé credit for doing a good job of integrating the different forms of the Drakon so that they all seemed equally natural. Kim and Mari were appreciative of each other and had chemistry no matter their form, and it never read weird for me. (Although -- and I know I'm harping -- I wold have expected dragon instincts to tend more towards a solitary existence rather than a pack existence.) But then halfway through the novel Kim did something where, if I had been Mari and had gone through what she'd gone through with her previous husband, I would not be able to trust him again without some serious work on his part.

I never got the emotional payoff of them rebuilding their trust however because Abé (and therefore Mari) didn't see what happened as that much of an issue as I did. So Kim made extra special sure not to do what he did again, and Mari had no doubts or hesitance at all stemming from Kim's actions. Sure, she still didn't want to end up in the same situation as when she'd been married before, but that was because she was against getting remarried in general. She never once thought "I don't want to get married, and especially not to Kim because he treated me like my former husband did (albeit by accident)."

Oh, and then there's Kim, who (along with the rest of his village) spends nearly the entire book acting like Mari and he are already married because years before he met her, he and the village council decided he should marry her for political reasons. And then when Kim and Mari finally meet, bam! they're married in the eyes of everyone except Mari, who keeps saying that no way no how is she going to get married again. Kim doesn't ever physically force himself on Mari, but it's incredibly annoying to have the hero saying that he doesn't care about the heroine's wishes on the matter of her marital status, he's decided they are and that's that.

Between my numerous frustrations with the romance plot and the wash-out that was the ending of the action plot, I was very dissatisfied with this book, and I don't think I'll read any more of this series. I might be willing to read one of her other novels if it was recommended to me by someone I know, but that's it.

ETA: [livejournal.com profile] glenraven has informed me that this is the really sucktacular book of the series and that the two before it are better. So maybe I'll read them at some later date.

Warrior - Marie Brennan
I have nothing bad to say about this one! Haha, finally my first book of the new year that I just out-and-out enjoyed. It was fun and interesting fantasy, and if I had the sequel I'd probably be reading it. I really like both Mirage and Miryo, and it was a nice change of pace to read a fantasy novel without any romance in it.
coprime: animated icon of a boy reading intensely and then shouting "But I don't want it to be over!!" (books)
Sunday, March 16th, 2008 11:39 pm
I participated in the [livejournal.com profile] 50bookchallenge last year as a way of forcing myself to think about books after I'd read them. And it worked, but I realized I don't want to write up my feelings on every book I read. There's only so many ways to say "Hana-Kimi was enjoyable; Sano and Mizuki are still being boneheads about their feelings for each other" after all. So I'm doing something similar here but only for the books I want to say something about.

Postcards: True Stories that Never Happened, edited by Jason Rodriguez: It's got an interesting premise: take old, used postcards and give them to comic writers and artists for them to make a story around. The stories were, for the most part, enjoyable and even the ones I didn't like as much weren't bad per se, just not to my taste.

I do, however, wish that the introduction to each story hadn't been included because every single one told me what Jason Rodriguez thought the story would be when he gave away the postcard and then what the story that got written was about. And, okay, I want to be able to suss out what the story's about for myself, not be told that it's about the power of love and redemption, because it may not be about that for me. But, other than my annoyance at being told how to interpret the stories by the introductions, it was an interesting little graphic novel.

Time Travelers Strictly Cash, by Spider Robinson: I bought this book because I'd heard good things about Robinson's Callahan's Crosstime Saloon series and thought this was a collection of short stories from that series. (The back cover made it sound that way.) Turns out that only a third of the stories are, another third are unrelated science fiction short stories, and the last third consists of various non-fiction writings of his.

Despite looking at the back cover suspiciously once I realized what the actual contents were, it was a good book. The Callahan's stories were fun to read, and I always love a good (or bad, depending on how you look at it, I suppose) pun. The other science fiction stories were also good. I particularly enjoyed "Soul Search," which dealt with cryogenics and reincarnation. The non-fiction was...eh. Didn't hate it, could have easily lived with never having read "Rah Rah R.A.H." (Robinson's essay on why Robert A. Heinlein is the bestest), but I've also read more boring things and at least these were short.

The Subtle Knife, by Philip Pullman: This took forever to read due to losing it in my mom's car of all places for six months. (It drove me batty during those months too because I knew I owned the book and yet it wasn't anywhere in the house.) Anyway, about the book, I can now see why people decided the series has an anti-Christianity message. (I still think the people kicking up a fuss about said message are rather silly, but anyway.) I'm holding out on making any judgements about Pullman's big message until I read The Amber Spyglass because right now it looks too obvious where Pullman wants to go. And I'm hoping The Amber Spyglass is subtler than that.