Wednesday, December 30, 2009

What I read: Dec 2009

I might as well post this now, because I'm not likely to finish another book tomorrow. I mean, it's a good book I'm reading, but I started it in August, so there's no rush.

"Ghost Story" by Peter Straub. This was recommended on the VP list, I think, or maybe OWW, as a most awesome example of horror. It was fabulous. It has an excellent example of a prologue that is a prologue, and is totally necessary to the story (this has been a very hot topic on both afore-mentioned lists lately -- apparently lots of people don't read prologues). The ending would make little sense without the prologue, and it set up a bunch of characters nicely. There were numerous points-of-view, and I loved the way they all conflicted with each other. People misread other people, misinterpreted them. Stella saw everything. I wish there was more Stella.

"The Pyrates" by George MacDonald Frasier. It was mentioned on some blog I don't frequent, but I have a colleague who occasionally does a rant about how we shouldn't make light of piracy, because pirates are real and evil and not fun, and this book is anathema to his position. I got it out of the library, and Ed picked it up and read the whole thing, foregoing several WEBGriffin books in the process. Tres strange. This book constantly amazed me. It's a massive sustained send-up of pirate movies. A normal writer can sustain something like this for maybe ten pages. GMF manages to keep it going for over 400, and still adds new cliches and tropes, sustaining the farce right until the end. GMF is truly a master of whatever genre this falls into. And Prtzlprnln is the best name ever. And without pirates, we in North America would probably all be speaking spanish. So take that, pop-culture-pirate-hating colleague.

"Boneshaker" by Cherie Priest. After two books written in the 80's, it was important to read something new. I'd heard a lot about it, and I'm not quite sure what I expected. I didn't like the use of time. There are two characters who separate early on, and are then travelling in the same space. They alternate chapters. One is half a day ahead of the other one, as far as I can guess. I spent a lot of time reminding myself that this has already happened in that person's timeframe, and that threw me out of the story a little bit. I'm not sure the story would have worked if it had been written strictly chronologically, though. The world was really well-built and convincing, and the characters were good, and the line about Briar being 35 years old and not looking a day younger will probably stick with me forever.

"Kitty and the Midnight Hour" by Carrie Vaughn. The writing and plot seemed a bit like that Charlaine Harris stuff I was reading in the summer, like Laurel K. Hamilton but without all the sex. The wolf pack behavior bits were great.

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