Week 49 – 2017

1. I quite enjoyed Trading in Danger by Elizabeth Moon. I noticed it classed under “military sf,” but it wasn’t quite, because the protagonist got kicked out of the military academy. Instead, she brings her military training to dicey trading situations (some of which she creates herself). This novel felt like an origin story: how Ky Vatta comes to terms with not being an officer and what she becomes instead. She is a character who thinks carefully before decisions and takes responsibility for them, even if they caused her problems, a trait I empathize with and appreciate. I’ll definitely be following her spacefaring career.

2. I took a glance at The Painter by Peter Heller because I loved The Dog Stars and enjoyed Celine. But I decided not to finish it at 10% because of the following: profanity, a horse that was symbolic, fishing, a dead daughter, and weird paragraphing reminiscent of poetry. If these things do not put you off of a book, you would no doubt find this an exceptional read. Heller does not write without deliberate intention, and I’m sure it is gorgeously composed–it just has contents I don’t enjoy reading.

3. I enjoy reading series because of the idea of installments. Whenever I feel like checking up on some characters I like, I’ll just have a look into the next volume, of whose contents I have a fair but not specific idea. I think of some authors’ works as one giant series, regardless of whether the characters happen to be the same book by book, because of their ability to deliver a certain kind of book reliably. Maggie Stiefvater, though prior to starting the Raven Cycle I’d read only her fantastic Scorpio Races, is one of these: she can write a group of young people like nobody’s business. In The Raven Boys, Blue, the daughter of a psychic, teams up with some wealthy boarding school boys to hunt for ley lines near their town, wake up an ancient king, and solve a murder. Also, one of the boys is going to die, and Blue might be responsible. (And there are four books!)

4. You know I enjoy series, right? So you’ll be seeing a lot of Ky Vatta. In Marque and Reprisal, the second of five in Elizabeth Moon‘s Vatta’s War series, the name of the series becomes plain. Someone is out for Vatta blood, and it’s up to Ky and the few remaining Vattas to figure out why. I’m not giving anything away that the title doesn’t imply when I say that Ky gets a letter of marque authorizing her to privateer (ahem, pirate) on behalf of Slotter Key against their enemies. If the first book is Ky’s origin story, this one has the inciting incident that turns her into a space pirate out for revenge. Also featuring more of Aunt Grace’s fruitcake and a new perspective character. A delight so far. (And there are five books!)

5. Other. I acquired a Kelly Link short story collection, which I plan to read story by story between novels after I’m done with Vatta’s War the second. I’ve also finally made it to part three of the Susanna Clarke audiobook I’ve been chipping away at. At which I’ve been chipping away. Away at which I’ve been chipping. Whatever.

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