fiveforsilver: (Xmen [Angel])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
119. *Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld
Leviathan, book 2
Juvenile, Steampunk/Alternate History, 481p

121. *Pegasus by Robin McKinley
Pegasus, Book 1
Young Adult, Fantasy, 397p

ARC from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.

Sylvani, king's daughter, is preparing to be magically bonded to a son of the king of the Pegasi, as is required by the treaty between their kingdoms. To everyone's shock, at the ceremony it turns out that Sylvani can mindspeak with her bonded pegasus. Which is impossible. Except it isn't.

I was concerned about how McKinley would be able to put the pegasus - froo-froo fantastical creature to the extreme - into a serious novel. There was no need to worry, though; McKinley's nonhuman characters have always been at least as well developed as the humans. The Pegasi are amazing.

I read this knowing that it was Part 1 of an as-yet-unfinished tale, and McKinley mentioned on her blog that the ending is unsatisfying, so I knew what was coming. But I was still surprised and upset at the cliffhanger where the story stops. I loved the book, but I expect the next time I read it will be right before Book 2 is released, whenever that will be. I can't wait.

121 / 160 books (76%)
59 / 80 *new books (74%)
3 / 7 ^non-fiction (43%)
32402 / 48000 pages. (62%)
Audiobooks: 54h19m

(#120 left out because there are two #64s)


Oct. 3rd, 2010 11:04 am
fiveforsilver: (Books)
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
88. *The Boneshaker by Kate Milford
Young Adult, Fantasy/steampunk, 372p

A strange medical fair comes to town and unlike most of her neighbors, Natalie is not convinced that they are really there to help people.

The Boneshaker is well-written with an intriguing plot and Natalie is a great character, but I'm left a bit disappointed at the end of the book. There are too many loose ends, too many things that were superficially explained but never really explained. It's a fun book but ultimately unsatisfying.

89. *Doctor Who: Cobwebs by Jonathan Morris, read by Peter Davison
Science Fiction, Audiobook, 2h19m

Excellent story.

90. *Doctor Who: Apollo 23 by Justin Richards, read by James Albrecht
Science Fiction, Audiobook, 5h31m

The American English (dialogue and accents both) was not very good.

91. Deerskin by Robin McKinley
Adult, Fantasy, 320p

92. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Young Adult, Fantasy, 471p

93. Fire by Kristin Cashore
Young Adult, Fantasy, 461p

94. *Omnitopia Dawn by Diane Duane
Adult, Science Fiction, 352p

Excellent new science fiction novel by one of my favorite authors. I didn't even know she had a new book out until I happened to see it in the store! I can't speak to how realistic the MMPORPG or hacking is, but the characters are fantastic and the story is intriguing. Although it reads as a stand-alone, it is the first in a trilogy and I eagerly await the upcoming books.

94 / 160 books (59%)
53 / 80 *new books (66%)
3 / 7 ^non-fiction (43%)
23508 / 48000 pages. (45%)
Audiobooks: 54h19m


Jun. 24th, 2010 09:57 am
fiveforsilver: (Blue window)
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
80. *Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
The Clockwork Century, book 1
Adult, Science fiction/Steampunk, 414 pages

Seattle is enclosed behind a 200-foot wall, built to keep in a toxic gas coming up from the ground and the rotters it creates when people breathe it in. Briar goes into the city she thought was deserted to find her son, Zeke, who went in looking for answers.

Boneshaker is the third Priest book I've read and was just as good as I was expecting. Priest skates the edge of horror - zombies are clearly horror-monsters, and frankly I was hesitant to read the book because of that - without going over the edge into the gruesome or overly terrifying. The story is well-plotted, the characters have believable motivations and depth, and the world is intriguing enough that I am excited to read the sequels.

81. The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
Young Adult, Fantasy, 248 pages

82. *Glimmerglass by Jenna Black
Faeriewalker, book 1
Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, 294 pages

ARC from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.

Dana is half-human and half-Fae teenager and when she can no longer stand living with her drunken (human) mother, she runs away to find her Fae father in Avalon, the city connecting the human and faerie worlds. But as soon as she walks through the gate, everything starts going wrong.

Glimmerglass is an exciting story of a girl caught in a world she knows nothing about, forced to trust people she barely knows and being betrayed at every turn. I was concerned toward the end that too much plot would be worked into the last few pages, but it is the first in a series, so things wrapped up this book's story and set up for the next book.

My only complaint is that I am tired of women falling for men who are nasty to them. None of the boys Dana's age are nice to her, and yet she's drooling over them because they're Fae-gorgeous. Those bits were incredibly boring, unlike the rest of the story.

82 / 160 books (51%)
45 / 80 *new books (56%)
3 / 7 ^non-fiction (43%)
20181 / 48000 pages. (42%)
Audiobooks: 46h29m


Jun. 24th, 2010 09:54 am
fiveforsilver: (Default)
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
(still may)

76. Daja's Book by Tamora Pierce
Circle of Magic, book 3
Young adult, Fantasy, 240p

I much prefer Pierce's Tortall books - I prefer nearly any given Tortall book to any given Circle book. A big part of the problem I have with the Circle books is that there are always too many things going on at once, so none of them quite get the time they need to be developed, and so neither do the characters. In Daja's Book, for instance, there is the drought, there is the fire (admittedly the two are connected), there is Daja's problems being a cast-out from her people (since a group of her people come around), there is yet another prideful mage (I think there is one in every book) and prideful noble (likewise) to cause problems and/or discord, and then Daja's and her friends' magics get away from them (more than once).

And that's not even all of it. It's just too much. The book should be half again as long to encompass it all, and all the Circle books are like that. But this is one of the few Circle books that I specifically reread occasionally despite the problems, because certain parts of the storylines resonate with me and I really like Daja.

77. Sunshine by Robin McKinley
Adult, Fantasy, 405p

Possibly my favorite book ever. Sunshine is a reluctant heroine who would rather bake cinnamon rolls than kill vampires. The world McKinley created for her to live in is so fascinating (and terrifying) that I love reading about it and learning all the snippets of information that come up in the book alongside the story - what different kinds of demons are like (physically and socially), how magic-using can effect the user; details that make the world seem more solid and there.

77 / 160 books (48%)
41 / 80 *new books (51%)
3 / 7 ^non-fiction (43%)
18724 / 48000 pages. (39%)
Audiobooks: 46h29m
fiveforsilver: (Text [silence speaks])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
49. A Knot in the Grain by Robin McKinley
Young Adult, Fantasy, short stories, 192 pages

One of my favorite short story anthologies. I wrote a review of each story here.


Jan. 24th, 2010 04:54 pm
fiveforsilver: (Cats [We're watching you!])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
7. Epic by Conor Kostik
Young Adult, Science Fiction, 366 pages

(copied from my previous review)

Erik Haraldson lives in two worlds. In the real world, on New Earth, he works on a farm with his parents, where they use both solar panels and wood-burning stoves, tractors and donkeys, an odd juxtaposition of the old and the new. He also lives in Epic, a fantasy MMORPG with virtual reality interfaces that nearly every person plays. It is within Epic that business transactions and governmental issues are handled, disputes are settled, and the economy functions.

Then, of course, things start going wrong. I really liked this book, it turned out to be much, much more interesting than I expected it to be. I do have three minor quibbles: there were almost no female characters in the book and the ones that did exist were unimportant and practically invisible; a major battle near the beginning was completely omitted; and the end wrapped up too quickly. But regardless, it was a fun and enthralling SF story.

8. Chalice by Robin McKinley
Young Adult, Fantasy, 259 pages

Chalice feels more like McKinley's earlier books, like Beauty or The Blue Sword, rather than her more recent (and modern) ones. I am fascinated by the world she creates and by the way we learn about it as the story goes along, in bits and pieces as the characters learn. I like the main characters; Mirasol, who was content in her solitary woodskeeper life before she was called to her duty as Chalice, and the Master, a former Fire Priest who left his priesthood to take up his duty. They are where they are because of their love for the land and their sense of duty, but that doesn't make it easy on them (or the people around them).

I was a little disappointed by the end, though. It seems like they get off too easy somehow. I prefer McKinley's books when the end is more subtle and ambiguous.

9. Saga by Conor Kostik
Sequel to Epic
Young Adult, Science Fiction, 367 pages

(copied from my previous review)

A secret probe has arrived on New Earth, which excised Epic from their computer system and installed another game, Saga. The people of New Earth are becoming addicted to Saga like a drug. Can Eric and his unusual new friends save two worlds?

Saga was quite different from Epic; although it was set in the same universe, it was almost entirely set within Saga and the main characters are NPCs, or characters from the game. It's a good book, I liked it nearly as much as I liked Epic.

10. The Cat Who Sang For the Birds by Lillian Jackson Braun
The Cat Who... series, book 20
Adult, Mystery, 272 pages

10 / 160 books. 6% done!

2 / 80 *new books. 3% done!

0 / 7 ^non-fiction. 0% done!

2529 / 48000 pages. 5% done!

Audiobooks: 7h45m


Dec. 21st, 2009 12:04 pm
fiveforsilver: (Firefly [stick])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
146. *Fire by Kristin Cashore
Young Adult, Fantasy, 461 pages
Companion to Graceling

Fire is a monster - an unnaturally beautiful creature who can control the minds of people and animals around her. Fire is also human. As a human monster, she is mistrusted, hated, feared, and desired. Her father was a monster and also a moster, cruel, controlling, and indiscriminate in the use of his abilities, but Fire was raised with human morals.

It's not easy to describe this book, because the story is less about people running around doing things then about the various characters learning about each other and themselves. And yet the story moves quickly and there is certainly action, since Fire's country is at war. Fire is a wonderful book.

147. *Makers by Cory Doctorow
Adult, Science Fiction, 416 pages

I liked the idea of this book and I would have enjoyed the main story and the geekery of it, but there is an odd obsession with weight and obesity starting on the first page that I found very off-putting. I suppose the idea is not inappropriate in a "near-future fable", given current political and social views, but the way it's handled made me cringe. Frequently. Fat people are (ironically) 2-dimensional characters, called "the obese" or, later "the fatkins", no matter who's talking. Doctorow assumes that all fat people want the same thing (to be thin) and will do any idiotic, untested thing to get it. And to assume that being thin will make people happy is just plain stupid. But of course they get what they deserve in the end, right?

I think I would have liked this book without that (unnecessary and cringe-inducing) subplot but it was so annoying and distracting that it overwhelmed many of the good aspects. I won't be reading it again and I don't recommend it.

148. *Fire: Tales of Elemental Spirits by Robin McKinley and Peter Dickinson
YA/Adult, Fantasy, Short Stories, 297 pages

Of the five stories in this anthology, I quite liked Phoenix by Peter Dickinson, absolutely loved Hellhound and First Flight by Robin McKinley, and didn't particularly care for Fireworm or Salamander Man by Peter Dickinson.

149. The Android's Dream by John Scalzi
Adult, Science Fiction (humorous), 396 pages

150. *The poison eaters & other stories by Holly Black
YA, Fantasy, short stories, 158 pages
Early Reviewer

It was like reading a book of fables, but I couldn't work out what the morals were supposed to be (which may be a plus, actually). There was a real mixture of stores I liked and stories I didn't care for but regardless, it was a fun little book and a quick read.

150 / 150 books. 100% done!

78 / 75 *new books. 104% done!

5 / 10 ^non-fiction. 50% done!

43383 / 45000 pages. 96% done!


Nov. 5th, 2009 12:40 am
fiveforsilver: (Holiday [Halloween cat])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver

131. Sunshine by Robin McKinley
Adult, Fantasy, 405p

I was so tired from the job I had last month (among other things) that it actually took me about three weeks to read Sunshine. Usually it takes me about two days.

Still one of my absolute favorite books.

132. The Magician's Ward by Patricia Wrede
Young Adult, Historical Fantasy, 288p

133. A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny
Adult, Fantasy, 280p

134. Old Man's War by John Scalzi
Adult, Science Fiction, 311p

135. The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi
Adult, Science Fiction. 343p

135 / 150 books. 90% done!

72 / 75 *new books. 96% done!

5 / 10 ^non-fiction. 50% done!

38473 / 45000 pages. 85% done!

Audiobooks: 26h30m


Nov. 5th, 2009 12:24 am
fiveforsilver: (Xmen [Angel])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
129. *Fledgling by Octavia Butler (320)

I liked this book, the worldbuilding and characterization were very thorough and the plot was captivating. There were some aspectes of the story that were disturbing, though I suppose that is hardly surprising given the author.

130. The Door in the Hedge by Robin McKinley (216)

Anthology of short stories by Robin McKinley. They're all beautifully written and none of the stories are particularly tense (sometimes to the point of being anticlimactic, unfortunately).

The Door in the Hedge
The kingdom borders the fairy land and the occasional infant boy and teenage girl are kidnapped by the faeries. Nobody expects the beautiful, accomplished (though surprisingly not Mary Sueish) princess to be taken, because the faeries have always before been careful not to end families, and she is the only one. But, of course...

The writing, the language of the story is typical fantastic beautiful McKinley. I used to like this story - at least, the first half of it - but this time reading it, I couldn't help but wonder about all the unanswered questions. Why do the faeries have to steal children? Why do the people living in that kingdom stand for it? Neither is adequately, convincingly explained and if you really think about it, it's horrifying.

Even so, there really are no "bad guys" in this story, and it just sort of meanders along from start to finish. Unfortunately, though, the resolution doesn't really make much sense or explain things.

The Princess and the Frog
This story is much better - we're dropped into the middle of a conflict of wills where an evil smiling wizard or mage or what-have-you is slowly, insidiously taking over the kingdom from the inside. The princess is spunky and holds her own as well as she can, and the frog is great. Once again the climax leaves a little to be desired, though.

The Hunting of the Hind
The princess in this story is one of my favorite fairy-tale princesses. She is reminiscent of Aerin from The Hero and the Crown, the all-but-forgotten daughter of a king's second marriage who nonetheless loves her country and her family. For her beloved brother, she embarks on a quest that a dozen men have already failed at.

As with the other stories, I like the first half of the story but the second half doesn't quite live up to it. There is too much love at first sight as a replacement for plot and the climax is wanting. Also, I always thought there was more chemistry between Korah and Sellena than between any other pairing.

The Twelve Dancing Princesses
The twelve princess dance holes through their slippers every night and a retired soldier takes the challenge of finding out how and why.

Definitely the strongest story of the bunch, start to finish. There are a few unexplained bits, but overall it works. This is my favorite story in the book.

130 / 150 books. 87% done!

72 / 75 *new books. 96% done!

5 / 10 ^non-fiction. 50% done!

36846 / 45000 pages. 82% done!
Audiobooks: 26h30m


Dec. 19th, 2008 08:05 pm
fiveforsilver: (Blood Ties [Henry])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
143. Deerskin by Robin McKinley (320)

Deerskin is a powerful and dark fantasy book based on the fairy tale Donkeyskin. It is very hard to summarize or describe; I tried but ended up outlining the entire plot (too much for a review).

144. *Blood Bank by Tanya Huff (336)

Short stories about Henry and/or Vicki from Tanya Huff's Blood books. Fantastic, as much fun as the books themselves.

144 / 150 books. 96% done!

69 / 75 *new books. 92% done!

7 / 10 ^new books. 70% done!

39179 / 40000 pages. 98% done!


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