And so, here we are in January of 2009, and the stuff that I’ve actually read this year–you know, recently. Finally, truth in advertising!
Through Wolf’s Eyes Jane Lindskold
Lindskold begins a long fantasy series with the story of Firekeeper, a girl raised by wolves in the wilderness outside the kingdom of Hawk Haven. This being fantasy, these aren’t normal wolves, but “Royal Wolves”, larger than most and speaking or telepathic. A small group from the Kingdom enters the wilderness, looking for the company of a prince who moved out here with his followers to settle. Alas, the settlement burned down years ago, but when they meet Firekeeper they decide she must be the Prince’s daughter and take her back to the Kingdom with them. This could become a typical “fish-out-of-water” scenario, but Firekeeper is used to politics (wolves aren’t without their internal struggles), has human friends, and one of the Royal Wolves came with her. She may be equal to anything they can throw at her.
If I have one problem with this, it’s the peculiar treatment of the allied king at the end of the book (yes, clarity would be spoilerous), but no book can be perfect. We’ll see if Lindskold chickens out on the the implicit romance, though. Recommended.
The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks
Poor child Azoth seeks to escape from his horrible life in the slums by seeking the most glamourous job he can think of: becoming an assassin under the tutelage of Durzo Blint, the city’s best. Of course, this is neither easy nor does it end well. Thick book, well-written, first of a trilogy, 2nd book comes up soon in my TBR pile. Cautiously recommended.
Extraordinary Engines Edited by Nick Gevers
Allegedly a collection of Steampunk stories, but actually some of them are just Victorian weird adventures. Others are just weird. “The Lollygang Save the World On Accident” is probably the most interesting, and the one I’d most like to see expanded on (fascinating world). Marginally recommended.
Why Mermaids Sing: a Sebastian St. Cyr mystery by C. S. Harris
Sequel to When Gods Die and What Angels Fear, this one finds St. Cyr investigating a series of killings apparently based around the John Donne poem, “Go and catch a falling star“. There is also a shocking change in his relationship with his long-term lover, Kat Boleyn. From the ending, I think I can see where Harris is taking that plot point. Time will tell if I’m right. Recommended.
Reserved For the Cat by Mercedes Lackey
Lackey adds “Puss In Boots” to her elemental mages series. Still a fun, light read. Recommended.
The World Without Us by Alan Weisman
Sort of a meditation on what would happen to the world should humanity suddenly vanish. It also, of course, looks at what we’re doing to the world now. An interesting and thought-provoking read (I personally started trying to think up ways to hasten the human race’s demise. But my brain works that way). Highly recommended.
Northwest of Earth: the complete Northwest Smith by C. L. Moore
Collected pulp adventures by a master of the form. Unscientific and slightly misogynistic, but that was the nature of the beast. Recommended for adventure-lovers.
The Terror Dream: myth and misogyny in an insecure America by Susan Faludi
A look at how the post-9/11 political situation has been used to attack feminism, feminist goals, and women in the western world. An eye-opener. Highly recommended.