Sunday, February 1, 2015

Murchie Plus Books: January 25th to 31st

The premise: I love my dog. I love books. I bring the two together by cajoling my dog into posing beside every book I read, barring the digital comics I get through Marvel Unlimited. Last week, that was lots and lots of X-Men. I'm gonna be so sad when I run out of X-Men.

So, in twelve years or so.

(Although I'm already pretty sad I've run out of ALL-NEW X-MEN. I had so much fun with ALL-NEW X-MEN.)

The photos: go live on Instagram as I take them and appear here in digest form every Sunday.

A sleek grey poodle, Murchie, lays in a blanket nest with only his face and forepaws poking out. Behind him is a paperback copy of Honor's Knight. Its cover depicts an armor-clad woman hovering in green-tinged space

Awwww, what a comfy wee poodle.

IF I STAY didn't really work out, but that left me free to start HONOR'S KNIGHT last Sunday. Hurray!

Rachel Bach's second Paradox novel didn't entrance me quite as much as her first (FORTUNE'S PAWN), but it was still an exciting read. I look forward to seeing how the series ends.

Murchie lays on a red blanket beside a white Kobo with Chains of Darkness, Chains of Light's cover on its screen. The cover depicts an armored woman hovering in a blaze of light.

But I can't read HEAVEN'S QUEEN until I've knocked another couple of books off la TBR. CHAINS OF DARKNESS, CHAINS OF LIGHT by Michelle Sagara West seemed a good place to start.

I fully intended to read this fourth and final book in the Sundered series during the first week of January, but that unexpected (and prolonged) aversion to novels really messed up my projected reading schedule. Thank goodness I'm back on track now.

The book proved an odd mix of stuff I was deeply invested in and stuff that kind of bored me. I loved everything with Erin, Darin, and Amalayna, but I didn't much care about the various servants of the Dark. Plus---spoilers coming up--while I'm usually on board with redemption arcs, I spent most of this series waiting for Erin to realize what a shitwad Stefanos was, and that did not happen. I mean, the guy clouds her mind, forces her to change her name while her mind's all clouded over, makes her immortal against her will by sacrificing her BFF on an altar of darkness, and traps her in an enchanted sleep for four centuries. That is classic shitwad behavior right there, and I'd much rather have seen him burn for it. His ending does tie in thematically with everything that's come before, and it's a creative and apposite way to bring closure to the war between the Light and the Dark, and he does figure out what was so wrong about how he used to live, but... yeah.

I mean, he could at least have quit referring to Erin as Sara after his big moment of clarity. I have trouble accepting him as a reformed shitwad if he can't at least do that.

That (considerable) reservation aside, I enjoyed this series very much. It's not as polished as Sagara West's later work, but I can see the roots of both her Averalaan and Elantran universes here. And it's often like she has a direct line to my emotions, which is mighty nice.

Murchie huddles within a blanket cave so only his face is visible. Close by is a white Kobo with the cover of The Best of Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Year Three on its screen. Only the title and its gold-tinged background are clearly visible.

And here's another anthology for my short fiction rotation: THE BEST OF BENEATH CEASELESS SKIES, YEAR THREE. I'm still working my way through WARRIORS and some back issues of FIRESIDE alongside it, so it's been slower going than I'd like, but I look forward to spending a bit more time with it this week.

Murchie lays with his chin flat against a fluffy red and white blanket. Before him sits my white Kobo with Miserere's cover on its screen. The cover depicts a pale-skinned man in crusader's armor sitting between two pale-skinned, armor-clad women, one dark haired and one blond. All three figures have swords.

Murchie's patience ran out when I asked him to pose with MISERERE by Teresa Frohock. Poor little guy. He's so hard done by.

I'll admit, I'm feeling a bit hard-done-by myself. This book came highly recommended by several people who share my tastes, including Kristen, but I'm four chapters in and I just ain't feeling it. I'll give it a little longer on account of the recommendation thing and because so many of the reviews on LibraryThing say it's slow to start, but I'm not terribly optimistic right now.

I'm also conflicted. On the one hand I don't like wasting my time and have become increasingly inclined to abandon books that don't grab me pretty quickly; on the other, a couple of my favouritest books evar took ages upon ages to hook me, so I'm predisposed to give fiction some leeway if folks can assure me it's worth it in the end.

It's a pickle.

Whether or not I finish this one, I plan to read HEAVEN'S QUEEN next. I've been doing this thing where for every five books I knock off la TBR, I can add two more from the library or wherever. MISERERE will mean I've read through (or abandoned) another five books, so I can read some other stuff. Yay!

I'll probably read CUCKOO'S SONG by Frances Hardinge, too, since Ana makes it sound wonderful and Jenny also enjoyed it.

A disgruntled Murchie lays curled up on a red blanket, ears tucked back. He wears a blue striped tank top. Before him sits my white Kobo with Genius on its screen. The cover depicts a black girl wrapped in caution tape, pointing a gun at the viewer.

Here's a tip from me to you: if you want your dog to love you, you maybe shouldn't thrust an ereader in his face right after he wakes up on a Saturday morning. He'll forgive you, but he'll take his sweet time about it.

It looks like I'm set to read a maximum of one Image comic per week, at least so long as I'm on this X-Men binge. (Damn you, X-Men!) This week's selection was GENIUS by Marc Bernardino, Adam Freeman, and Afua Richardson. Destiny is a military genius who's also a teenage black girl living in the roughest part of Los Angeles. People are inclined to underestimate her, society's attitude towards teenagers, black people, and girls being what it is, but she's having none of their crap and has set out to unite her community against the cops who've targeted them.

Or is that her whole goal? As the comic rolls along, it becomes clear Destiny is as bored as she is anxious to help the people she's claimed as her own. She's the smartest person in the room, keenly aware of the societal pressures in play and the historical responses that might help reduce them--or fan them into a conflagration the likes of which no one has ever seen. Bernardino, Freeman, and Richardson offer a questions-over-answers commentary on the relationship between haves and have-nots, the abusive systems propagated by authority figures, and the world's willingness to overlook or downplay talent that doesn't come from the "right" quarter. Much of Destiny's story is about breaking systems; exploiting and exposing society's weaknesses to help others and to better her own chances.

It's really good. You should check it out.

Next week: HEAVEN'S QUEEN by Rachel Bach. Maybe some more secondary world fantasy. At least one thing published by Image Comics. A new audiobook, for real this time. A bunch of X-Men comics I won't photograph because I don't want to bug Murchie too much.


  1. *does the People Are Reading Cuckoo Song, YAY dance* :D

    1. I got a bit distracted by my secondary world fantasy craving, but I hope to start it within the week!

  2. Arrrgh, Genius sounds really good! Okay! I will check it out! And you please let me know what you think of Miserere. I too have heard it recommended in the strongest terms, which makes me inclined to try it even though the title and cover are a trifle offputting.

    1. I ended up bailing on MISERERE at about 38% in. I figured if I hadn't connected with the characters and their world by that point, it probably wasn't going to happen. :(

  3. Replies
    1. I'll bombard you with SO MANY RECOMMENDATIONS when you get it.