Read Recently: Unfinished!

Read Recently Presents: Unfinished in ’14!

Every year I do an entry on all the books too bad to finish! Usually I call these “Unread“, but this year I thought that “UnFinished” scanned better with “Fourteen” and “Fifteen” so I’ll probably do that same thing next year. Don’t ask about sixteen; better not to think about it.

I can tell you’re all rivited.

Codex Born: magic ex libris book two by Jim C. Hines

I rather liked Hines’ last series, in which fairie tale princesses are cast as action heroes; I expected to like this one, too. And in fact, I think I found the last one rather acceptable. This one, though, just kept rubbing me wrong, and it’s hard to put my finger on why. Though if you open the story with investigating the death of a wendigo you’d better be doing it to pin a medal on the killer if you want me to take you seriously. I’ve got no sympathy for cannibalistic monsters.

I may give this one another try somewhen down the road. Or not. We’ll see.

Night Owls by Lauren M. Roy

Valerie McTeague runs a bookstore near the university, staying open late to accomodate students who want to study. Also, she is a vampire and works accompanied by her renfield, Chaz (one customer, in particular, thinks Chaz is a werewolf. No reason for this is given). Elly Garrett is a homeless teenager who interacts with the monsters known as Creeps or Jackals (no reason for the second name is given in the time I was reading). I say interacts rather than fights, because before I quit we only see Elly running from the Creeps; and actually she believes she doesn’t have to outrun it, she just has to outrun you. And she, as far as I can tell, is supposed to be one of our heroes. Her name is on the back cover, and everything. I don’t ask much from my fictional heroes, but an unwillingness to throw innocent people under the bus is the bare minimum. To add to which, if you want to use vampires these days you have to do something more interesting than Roy does here. I got four chapters in and gave it up as a bad job.

The Shadow Scholar: how I made a living helping college kids cheat by Dave Tomar

Apparently, early in his own college career, Tomar gave up on the prospects of higher education and turned instead to selling his services as an essay-writer. What turned me off of this was his contempt not only for his customers, but for his entire generation. He comes across as a crabby old man at a young age; I saw no reason to read on.

Also, I’d expect a non-fiction book written by a professional essayist to be better proof-read.

The Swordsman of Mars by Otis Adelbert Kline

According to the intro, Kline was considered a major rival of Edgar Rice Burroughs on the Mars-adventure front. Based on this book, I am hard put to say why. Seriously, Burroughs may have had his problems, but he was never boring. Kline can’t say the same.

The Noise Revealed by Ian Whates

Sequel to The Noise Within (here) opens with a character being explicitly tortured and ends with her being killed (I peeked), all to motivate a guy protagonist. Why, hello, things that piss me off!

Love Is The Law by Nick Mamatas

I wanted to like this one. It’s a mystery in which a young woman who is a Thelemite (magician and follower of Aleister Crowley) tries to solve the murder of her mentor. And, to be honest, I probably read more of this one than of any of the others except for Kline. Problem: Thelemites are assholes and the mystery wasn’t interesting. I had been wondering about Mamatas for a while, and based on this I’d say, back away slowly, make no sudden moves, and don’t show fear. Also, don’t read this book.


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