Read Recently — December 2008

Now & Then by Robert B. Parker

An FBI agent asks Spenser to trail his wife, believing that she is having an affair. She is, but it turns out that who she is having the affair with is the important issue. Meanwhile, Susan and Spenser discuss marriage. A decent enough story with an interesting twist somewhere around the middle, but suffering slightly from the malaise that affects most of Parker’s latest work. Still, mildly recommended.

Infernal Devices by Philip Reeve

Sequel to Mortal Engines and Predator’s Gold. Set twenty years after the last two, this one has Hester and Tom’s daughter getting into trouble and dragging her parents after her. Solid work in an interesting and imaginative world. Recommended, but read the other two first.

A Nameless Witch by A. Lee Martinez

Some time ago, the family of our titular hero was cursed by a dying wizard (the ancestor involved had, in fact, killed said wizard) so that the sixth child of each generation would be a horrible monstrousity. Our hero is the first sixth child; the family wasn’t sure if the curse took, but it did. Though not ugly or otherwise physically monstrous, she is undead, immortal, with fangs, a (slightly) forked tongue, and a taste for human flesh. Mind you, the cannibalism thing never really kicks in hard enough to make her eat anyone, though it does give her a different appreciation of the human form. From her teacher in witchcraft, she inherits a familiar and a magic broom, and ends up living in a tent outside a military fortress for screwups. Which is set on its collective ear when a white knight (who is not, in fact, white) shows up with the news that a horde of monsters is descending on them. Can an undead witch and a white knight team up to fight evil?

Much funnier than I’m making it sound, and highly recommended.

Patrimony: a Pip & Flinx adventure by Alan Dean Foster

Latest in the increasingly pointless adventures of Pip and Flinx, and likely the last Foster I’ll be buying for a while. Not recommended.

Wanderlust by Ann Aguirre

Sequel to Grimspace. Jax and her companions are asked to serve as ambassadors to the alien planet of Ithiss-Tor, as she actually has the friendship of one of the inhabitants and would thus be able to avoid errors that tripped up earlier embassies. On the other hand, the crime syndicates want the mission to fail, and they’re holding Jax’s mother hostage to ensure it fails. Can Jax and crew etc., etc. Some nice twists, well-written. Recommended.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Have you already read this book? If you haven’t, and you have any interest in fantasy, do. Caveat: Big thick book, part one of a series (presumably a trilogy) of which part two is not yet even finished. But, if you can handle the withdrawal, this book is worth reading now. Highly recommended

Power of Three by Diana Wynne Jones

I’m not really sure I can sum this book up. It seems to go a lot of different places, with a lot of different characters, involving three races, two of them magical, in the area of a moor in England. I mean, it’s Jones, so it’s well written and such, and I enjoyed it, but I can’t tell you what it’s about.

Storm World: Hurricanes, politics, and the battle over global warming by Chris Mooney

There’s that name again. Mooney looks at the politics and science of hurricane prediction, with interesting results. Recommended.

Homelessness: How the end the national crisis by Jack Layton Layton is a Canadian politician, so the nation in crisis in question is Canada. Still, some good ideas here. Warning: Left-wing politics. Recommended.

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