Sunday, September 18, 2016

Murchie Plus Books: September 11th to 17th

The premise: I make my beloved dog, Murchie, pose beside every book I read. Sometimes he's fine with this and sometimes he wishes I'd go away and let him sleep in peace.

The photos: go live on Instagram as I edit them and appear here in digest form every Sunday, with descriptive alt tags and additional commentary.

A sleek grey poodle, Murchie, sticks his head above a white Kobo with the cover of Bookburners Season 2 Episode 13 on it. The red cover features the stylized image of a woman in a yellow dress standing before a tribunal of Catholic Cardinals, her back to the viewer.

And so we reach the BOOKBURNERS [Amazon | Serial Box] season finale, penned by showrunner Max Gladstone. This season has been a wild ride, and episode 13 delivers a little bit of everything: courtroom drama, weighty sacrifices, ideological clashes, political maneuvering, and some far-ranging plans that look set to change everything.

I gulped it down early last Sunday, as planned, and it elevated my whole day.

Which isn't to say the episode is all sunshine and puppy dogs. Team Three has delved into some dark places this season, and the finale stays true to type. Asanti's in a bad situation indeed, and the rest of the team has to process how they feel about that with an extra side of guilt over what Frances is going through. Many tensions come to a head, while others resolve themselves (perhaps temporarily) in the face of this greater threat. There are no easy answers here, and no way forward without a hell of a lot of compromise. Gladstone limns this process of give and take with consummate skill, illuminating each side of the issue without downplaying how much these concessions cost everyone involved.

I got pretty damned emotional as everything played out, and that ending--! Wow. Talk about a hook for S3.

Murchie lies slightly behind a white iPod with Trapped's cover on its screen. The visible portion of the cover features a white man's torso clad in a grey v-neck. Someone else's long red hair is barely visible behind his shoulder.

You remember how I struggled a little with the fourth Iron Druid novel? TRICKED? I'm pleased to report I found my rhythm a third of the way through and really enjoyed the book from then on. I didn't hesitate to spend another credit on TRAPPED [Amazon | Scribd] after I finished Natalie Baszile's QUEEN SUGAR last Sunday.

Turns out, I barely remembered this one. I had it all tangled up with the book that goes after it, which meant there were a ton of surprises along the way. I enjoyed it very much and am excited to revisit HUNTED next week, especially since my memories of it are similarly murky.

After that, I'll be totally done with the reread part of my Iron Druid Reread/Catch-Up, and it'll be surprises galore!

Murchie's face hovers above a white Kobo with Mongrel's cover on its screen. The cover features a dark-haired white man in vaguely Victorian casual clothes. A cliff appears behind him.

I spent a Scribd credit on K.Z. Snow's MONGREL [Amazon | Scribd] at Anastasia's recommendation, and what a good choice that was. MONGREL is a steampunk secondary world fantasy featuring a sinister circus, a fight against injustice, and plenty of sexy times for them what wants 'em. The characters are great and the language is delicious. I got an especially big kick out of Snow's tech terms, all of which are rooted in her pseudo-Victorian world's history and aesthetic.

Also of note: one of the heroes is bipolar, and his medicine is explicitly framed as a good thing that helps him live the sort of life he wants. I can't point to any other bipolar secondary world fantasy characters, and the only contemporary fantasy character who sprang instantly to mind (Mr Grey from Maggie Stiefvater's Raven Cycle) doesn't seem to use any medication

On the downside, there're only two women in the whole thing, and one of them's pretty minor. I would've prefered a punchier ending, too, and there are shades of instalove, though in the latter case Snow does a good enough job of establishing why the characters are into one another that I was willing to shrug it off.

Soon as I'd finished, I spent another credit on the trilogy boxed set (which I'd have done in the first place if it'd shown up in my initial Scribd search; sigh). I look forward to returning to this world soon.

Murchie, ears perked, lies slightly in front of a white Kobo with Tremontaine's on its screen. The cover features the silhouette of a woman in profile, surrounded by vines with other tiny figures dangling off them. A red banner proclaims this to be an advanced reading copy with a non-final cover.

I greedily devoured TREMONTAINE's second season premiere over breakfast on Tuesday, then spent a most enjoyable lunch hour gushing about it. I'll let the resulting post speak for itself.

Murchie hunches down and looks away from a trade paperback copy of A Game For Swallows. The book's cover features a black and white illustration of many adults of multiple genders gathered behind two small, curly-haired children. Everyone looks very serious.

I always cite A GAME FOR SWALLOWS [Amazon | Scribd] by Zeina Abirached as one of my favourite comics, so I was a little bit nervous about rereading it. What if it didn't hold up?

I sat on this library copy for far too long before I dove in and discovered I was wrong to worry. A GAME FOR SWALLOWS is definitely one of my favourite comics. I wrote a short review after my first reading, so I'll point you there instead of waffling on here.

Murchie does his mopey emo kid impression next to a Kobo with the cover of Her Halloween Treat on it. The cover features a bearded blonde white man striding through an autumnal outdoor setting. He wears a red flannel shirt open to reveal his toned, hairless chest.

I squeed more than a little when Tiffany Reisz announced she'd signed a contract to write three holiday romances for Harlequin's Blaze imprint. The squee intensified when she revealed one of them would be a Hallowe'en romance, because OMG YOU GUYS I LOVE HALLOWE'EN.

I loved HER HALLOWEEN TREAT [Amazon], too, as I'll discuss in more detail during the review I hope to share with y'all next week.

Next week: THE OBELISK GATE by N.K. Jemisin, for sure. We'll see what I feel like after that.