The idle ramblings of a Jack of some trades, Master of none

Apr 20, 2017

Serial reading

Scarcely a month after my remarks on reading more than one book by the same author, I find myself in the midst of not one, not two, but three series.

One of them is a one-woman demolition of Bechdel tests: Victoria Schwab's Grey London series in which women barely talk to each other except to discuss men. There are three Londons with varying degrees of magic, there are rare blood magicians who can travel between them, and there are envies and resentments between the rulers of the three worlds. There's also a murderous thief who insinuates herself into the politics and remains insouciant and irritating throughout. It's rip-roaring in the first book and rapidly bulks up and becomes a bit too self involved in the next two.

Self involvement is the last thought in my mind when I consider N K Jemisin's books of Orogeny, the first of which, The Fifth Season, I polished off at rapid clip. Set in a far future earth of a single continent and tectonic violence, the world is divided into communities of normal people, derisively called "stills", by the Orogenes, humans capable of extracting telekinetic power from the environment and reducing the effects of tectonics. Orogenes are generally hated by the stills, who kill them as soon as they're detected, but a large number are enslaved and trained by a shadowy organisation that then sends them out to the world to sort out environmental problems. Jemisin's imagination is superb and her controlled pace of revelation leaves one panting for more. I'm rather keenly awating the weekend so I can go grab the second book in the sequence, The Obelisk Gate.

Much to Sakura's dismay, I picked up the first of Steven Erickson's Kharkanas trilogy before ever reading the Malazan set. On her admonishment I slunk back to the library to return it unread and there I found Seth Dickinson's fantasy of economics and politics, The Traitor, which I'm now half way through, and it's grippinger than an octopus. I'll probably be quite disgusted very soon when I find that it ends on a cliffhanger and the second book, The Monster, is as yet unpublished.

I also, for old times sake, read Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd, the latest in the Flavia de Luce series. I was previously going off the set for its self indulgence and unnecessary conspiracy theories, but this is a triumphant reversion to Flavia's skills of detection and brilliance of character. All to the good.

(Now I hear that Jason Goodwin's detective series set in the Ottoman world is being adapted for TV. Woot woot is what I say, as the books are good fun. Check out one of JK's reviews here.)


Sakura said...

I love a good series and I haven't read any of the ones you've started except for the Flavia de Luce, the latest of which I can't wait to read now. I think I already own a couple of titles so something to look forward to. Btw, I really enjoyed House of Binding Thorns by Aliette de Bodard and am now reading The Gilded Cage by Vic James which is proving to be interesting. It reminds me a little of Smoke by Dan Vyleta which was excellent.

JK said...

It would be wonderful to see Jason Goodwin's books on TV. Thanks for that tip.

Space Bar said...

My mom finished Fifth Season & Obelisk Gate in one breath and said Gimme the third book! I said It's not out yet, you have to wait like the rest of is. NKJ is astonishing.

Sakura: I hope you read House of Shattered Wings first! (I used not to care about series order, but now I do.)

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