Sunday, August 30, 2015

Murchie Plus Books: August 23rd to 29th

The premise: I love my dog. I love books. I bring the two together by posing my tiny and adorable dog with every book I read, barring the digital comics I get in single issue form.

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

Not pictured: I finally slipped back into Marvel Unlimited last week. Whee!

The first arc of Skottie Young's ROCKET RACCOON initially put me off a bit with its ex-girlfriends-out-for-revenge angle, but I was surprisingly pleased with where it ended up. Groot's story in #5 was a ton of fun, too, and I was glad to see Cosmo in #6. Cosmo is and shall remain my favourite psychic Russian space doggie.

THE MIGHTY AVENGERS varies from awesome to oh-god-why-so-dull as it edges through SECRET INVASION and on into the great beyond. I read a couple of arcs, then put it aside for a little while so I could focus on some other stuff.

Like HAWKEYE VS. DEADPOOL, which Kelly recommended. I still have a couple of issues left as I write this, but I'm enjoying it quite a bit. I mean, I'm never gonna love anyone's Clint Barton as much as I love Matt Fraction's Clint Barton, but that's okay. Doesn't mean other Clint Bartons can't also be entertaining, especially when they hang out with Deadpools.

A sleek grey poodle, Murchie, lays on a fuzzy white pillow with his head twisted so he appears in profile. In front of him and at any angle is a trade paperback copy of Hinterkind: The Hot Zone. Its red-toned cover features a pale-skinned, silver-haired woman wearing armour and crowned with antlers. Her left hand rests on the hint of a thick sword.

I was surprised to discover that THE HOT ZONE is Hinterkind's last volume. Alas, it shows all the signs of a hasty cancellation. The creators rush to tie everything up, so quite a few plot points get glossed over. Surely they meant to do more with the vampires, not to mention the FRICKIN' DRAGON.

Oh well.

Murchie lays in a small, fuzzy-sided dog bed. A bookshelf appears behind him. Beside him is a white iPod with The Ghost Bride's cover on its screen. The cover depicts a Malay woman laying on a bower of something red. The edge of the cover cuts her off just below her eyes.

I've made a list of all the books in my Scribd library that'll be expiring on September 20th, and I've prioritized them based on length, diversity, public library availability, whether or not I've already downloaded them. THE GHOST BRIDE by Yangsze Choo won the which-book-will-I-start-with lottery by virtue of being a sorta-short novel by a Malaysian woman which I'd already downloaded.

Choo reads the book herself, and damn is her voice ever gorgeous. I was like, "Madame, you can keep talking for as long as you want."

The story is packed full of things I love, including ghosts, dreams, complex (and new-to-me) mythology, girls with guts, and a FRICKIN' DRAGON. And yet, I didn't love it. I only sorta-kinda liked it. I kept listening on the strength of the author's voice, and for the opportunity to learn something about the Chinese afterlife (parts of which the author says she made up; goodbye, learning experience), but I wasn't nearly as engaged as I wanted to be.


I did invest myself in part of the love story, though; namely, in the instalove portion of things. I'm sick of instalove, and after a certain point I began to suspect Choo was working towards a different angle with it. This was indeed the case, and I am most pleased with how things turned out.

(Except--SPOILER COMING UP--as if Li Lan's just gonna sit in some little house somewhere. What a bullshit fate. She so totally goes along with Er Lang when he gathers information and all that. I will accept no other ending.)

Murchie reclines in his fuzzy-sided dog bed. He wears a blue- and white-striped t-shirt. Beside him, near the front of the frame, is a white Kobo with Lair of Dreams's cover on its screen. The blue-toned cover features three people of various genders moving through an otherwise deserted subway station with vaulted, tiled ceilings.

Friends, I've had such good luck with my most anticipated books of 2015. They've all been exactly what I hoped for.

Not that LAIR OF DREAMS being everything I could've wanted spurred me on to read it at a decent pace. I started it on Monday and finished it last night (I hope; scheduled post and all that).

Bloody hell.

I had a totally doable list of books I wanted to read in July, yet here we are the end of the August and I'm still limping toward the end of said list. My last four books took me a minimum of five days each. That is unacceptable. I'd like to lodge a formal complaint against my goddamned fucking attention span.

Not that I'm frustrated or anything.

But yes; LAIR OF DREAMS is wonderful. It's full of dreams and ghosts and creepy-ass shit and people with magic and queer folks and friendships and other great stuff like that. Not everyone is white. Not everyone is able-bodied. And Bray doesn't use the cool set dressings of the '20s as an excuse to ignore evils like racism and eugenics, so there's real-world horror alongside the supernatural peril.

I hope I'll have a full review for you on Wednesday.

Murchie lays in his dog bed, paws crossed in front of him and ears perked. In the front of the frame is a white iPod with An Ember in The Ashes's grey-toned cover on its screen. The title appears emblazoned upon a tall cliff with some vaguely church-like buildings on top of it.

A whole bunch of people I follow on Twitter rave about AN EMBER IN THE ASHES pretty well every chance they get, so I snagged the audio off Scribd before that pesky expiration date.

And I'm loving it. It's full of world-shaking stuff happening to people, with great friendships and some tasty worldbuilding. I should finish it today, at which point I'll join the queue for Tahir's next novel.

I initially assumed said next novel would be a sequel, seeing as how I'm five chapters from the end and it feels like there's a lot left to cover, but Tahir's website says this is currently a standalone. I guess she's gonna take the Robin McKinley route and just leave us all to imagine what the characters do once they've made it through this trial. If they make it through this trial; the book's in present tense, and that always leaves things up in the air.

One note: I'd heard this was pseudo-Roman, but it doesn't read that way to me. So don't go in expecting legionnaires and senators or anything. Just non-medieval secondary world goodness.

Next week: CORAMBIS, finally. (I think it might almost be a good thing it's taken me nine hundred years to finish this reread. More on that later.) Another audiobook or two. Maybe some comics. Perhaps even a second non-audio novel (but don't place any bets on that).


  1. Oh and I doooo imagine so many things that happened in Sunshine after the end of the book. If ever I were going to trot into a fandom and really muck around in writing fanfiction around the edges of the story that exists. So many thiiiiiiings to imagine. (I especially like to imagine the adventures of Aimil, Names Genius & Magical Librarian.)

    1. Now I'm imagining tons of things, and I'm very happy.