Hermitwitch’s Weblog

At Wit’s End

Various and sundry

Diana Pharaoh Francis has started something interesting in The Cipher: A Novel of Crosspointe. The world is very detailed and appealing, and well-built. The magic system is very different and, considering this is a magic system we’re talking about, believable. The cast of characters is one of the more interesting that I’ve encountered, and the reader quickly becomes enmeshed in a ‘how the hell they gonna get out of THIS’ mindset. My only caveat with this book is that the writing style is a little wooden, particularly in the beginning. As the plot unfolds, that caveat becomes less noticeable and less important to the reader’s enjoyment. I am guardedly looking forward to the next in the series.

I recently finished Passage: The Sharing Knife Book 3 by one of my favorite authors Lois Mcmaster Bujold. My enjoyment of book three lead me to re-read the first two volumes and, ahem, now I’m reading the third again. Although sometimes Dag’s ruminations on his magic abilities, and the possible wider implications, get tiresome, this is a small complaint. The series is populated with a group of people you would really like to know, in a world you’d really like to live in. As Spark herself might add, “I can’t say fairer than that.”

At the moment, I’m not reading much in the way of urban fantasy because I’m scribbling away at my own UF. I find that reading in the same genre in which I’m trying to write throws me off. Somewhere in this blog I’m going to post a bit of that writing for anyone who wants to trash comment on it. 🙂


May 1, 2008 Posted by | Book reviews | | Leave a comment

Magic Lost, Trouble Found

I actually don’t have a single negative thing to say about Magic Lost, Trouble Found or Armed & Magical, both by Lisa Shearin.  (Tez will probably accuse me of writing sappy girly reviews or something.)  They’re both excellent fantasies, with well-drawn characters, and an unusual magic system that works.  That is, the author doesn’t violate the magic’s logic system, if that makes any sense.  I like the world the author creates (it’s got pirates, too). These are definitely the kind of books I will re-read whenever I need a fix of good, solid fantasy.  Five stars.

Impatiently waiting for the next book, even though the second just came out. 😉

April 21, 2008 Posted by | Book reviews | | 3 Comments

Ah, tax day

Gotta love it. I always like how the IRS can take their time about getting refunds to people but we, the taxpayers, had best not be late writing out a check to them. I am particularly grieved about it this year because I owed NYS a sizable sum.

So, to soothe my grief, I am treating myself to smoked eel sushi for lunch. I’m something of a wasabi and pickled ginger whore, so it doesn’t actually matter to me much what the sushi beneath is, but I do like smoked eel. The only thing that would make this better is a jug of sake.

I recently finished Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder. The verdict is: disappointed. I enjoyed the first in the series, Poison Study, a great deal, Magic Study (book 2) somewhat less, but I always hold out hope for the series I like. It’s not that Fire Study was poorly written, not at all, and I like the characters, and the plot was cool. What I found irritating, though, was Yelena’s exponentially increased powers. It seemed as though whatever difficulties she and her group ran into, she suddenly had the power to get them out of it. Her horse, Kiki, seemed to get smarter by the page, too. So, although I’m not sorry I read the book, it just left me feeling dissatisfied.

Maybe the sushi will help.

April 15, 2008 Posted by | Book reviews, Gripes | | 1 Comment

Patricia Briggs: book reviews

Sneaky publishers and their shiny new covers on old books. Gotta watch ’em like hawks. Recently, Ace reissued a couple of Patricia Briggs‘ older fantasy novels, like Steal the Dragon and When Demons Walk, probably capitalizing on the success of the Mercy Thompson series (which I love). The two books mentioned above fall into the realm of what I call ‘comfort food’ reading. They’re easy and quick and generally satisfying. Maybe I should call it ‘fast food’ reading. 🙂 To me, they are basically mature young adult books, so if you’re looking for some steamy erotica, give these a pass. If you’re looking for some better-than-average fantasy, with a dash of romance, you’ll probably enjoy these. One minor irritation with Steal the Dragon was that the heroine of the story, Rialla, seemed to be far too knowledgeable and well spoken for a slave of common trader stock. I know, picky picky.

April 9, 2008 Posted by | Book reviews | , | Leave a comment