So with the push for editing on Amity I haven’t had as much time as I would like to devote to this space. But I’ve got some time now so that means I am all about catching up on my book posts. I don’t have so much time that I can sink a couple hours each so it’s Mini Book Post time. I may not be able to devote as much time to the book posts as I’d like, but I enjoy spreading the word about good books so I’m going to do what I can.
This is the second Harper Blaine book. The first, Greywalker, was one I read back in 2011 so it had been a while. There’s always a bit of trepidation when diving into a series after an absence. One of the best things I can say about a mid-series book is that it feels comfortable even after a time away. Harper is the kind of protag that I felt like I was hanging out with right along with no reading gap. I liked what was going on in this second book more than I remember the first book because we’ve already established a lot of what Harper’s unique abilities are. We don’t have to spend large swaths of the book figuring out what she can do because we already know the most of it. The artificial poltergeist is right up my alley. I love that kind of stuff.
For the record, I didn’t figure it out before the reveal.
This walks the line between urban fantasy and godpunk, although I think most would just call it urban fantasy since not many people use the term godpunk. (If I type it here enough, it becomes a thing, right?) It’s centered around Norse mythology but not much around the gods themselves. Dragons and dwarves are the big players here. What drew me into this is the protag, Sarah, is a blacksmith, not a prophecized warrior or anything. The craftsman viewpoint isn’t one that gets tossed around our genre that much. There’s a chunk of this book that delves into “coming to terms with myself so I can have an adult level relationship.” There’s a line where solid, realistic characters crosses into high schoolish relationship drama story. And the “I’m gay but hate myself a little bit for it because my parents are assholes” bit gets repeated. A lot. Although it may have seemed that way because that kind of stuff by itself isn’t my cup of tea. The book brought it back before crossing too far over the line for my tastes. But make sure you realize I am fully aware that’s a taste issue. The fantasy is solid as is the combat. (Pretty sure the author is an SCA guy… they’re all over this book) It’s first in a series though so there are a mess of loose ends for book two to deal with.
Bloody fucking brilliant. Tempted to leave it at that but it’d be a disservice to the book if I did. Atticus is a 2100 year old druid who lives in Arizona with his dog, Oberon. He’s got a legendary Irish sword he ganked on the battlefield centuries previous and has been running around keeping off the charts to stay alive. It catches up with him, good thing too otherwise we wouldn’t have much of a story. First off, this is godpunk from a pantheon we don’t usually get to read about. Most godpunk is Greco-Roman, Norse or to a lesser extent, Egyptian. Well, Atticus is an Irish druid, with an Irish sword, who do you think he’s going to run across in his travels? This is one of those times where I felt like I learned while reading fiction. Hearne writes the Irish gods as absolutely fascinating characters. There’s all sorts of double dealing and misinformation with them. I also love how the worldbuilding sets up that all the pantheons and gods are out there, they just tend to interact with their own people and not anyone else. (Atticus’ lawyer-warewolves have some beef with Thor) What’s even better than the pantheons and worldbuilding, is that Atticus and Oberon are downright funny. Humor can be hard to do in SF but the back and forth between druid and dog goes down as one of the best character relationship’s I’ve read in a long time. This book is brilliant and I’m going to nab up all the others.
I enjoyed this book but it’s not exactly what it was billed as on the Back of the Book. “New England cyberpunk noir” sounds epic right? Cyberpunk is a bit off in the description though and that’s too bad because it’s on the Back of the Book a couple times. “Massachusetts near future noir” is more accurate. That’s ok, ’cause like I said, I liked reading the book anyways. Bernal makes for a good noir protag. He has a churning thought process that’s always moving, always giving the reader something to follow. Importantly, Bernal isn’t always making the best decisions either and that makes for good reading. The near future tech involves a lot of cryogenic freezing, AI space probes and decapitation. This isn’t a hard tech heavy SF but the book still touches on it deeper than a pure soft SF would.
This is fresh from ’82 and it is in that awesome spot of reading as ageless. I picked it up off the recomendation of Tobias Buckell one day on ye olde twitter. He was talking about how influencing the book was to him. This is only the second Cherryh book I’ve read and I liked this one much more than Forty Thousand in Gehenna. This one is a more focused. Rather than a history of a whole planet, it is one very small crew trying to get by. I really wish there was a direct sequel to this.