Recent books read

Just finished: Victoria Goddard’s Clary Sage, a longish short story about how Hal, the Duke of Fillering Pool decides to go to Morrowlea Of The Radically Egalitarian Traditions. Sweet, light, and satisfying. Reminded me of why I liked the Greenwing & Dart series before the religion started getting heavy.

The Particolored Unicorn by Jon DeCles. Came recommended by Katherine Addison, one of my favorite writers (oddly, because Sarah Monette, another pen name of the same person, is very much not). This book has all the things it needs to be hilarious – witty descriptions, great dialogue, plenty of fun references to literary classics (Douglas Adams etc.), charming and wacky characters…

Should be similar to Barry Hughart’s Bridge of Birds in feel, but is not. Maybe there’s a bit too much of the author’s political views in the book (I mainly agree with those, but including them explicitly is wrong for the genre), or maybe it’s the general air of trying too hard. There is a sequel and I won’t be searching for it 🙁

Thus Was Adonis Murdered by Sarah Cauldwell. Good solid detective story set in Venice and full of charming and wacky characters. Unfortunately, not enough Venice and way too much reliance on complicated lawyer speech for humorous effect. A really good thing, but not my thing, or perhaps I was just too tired to appreciate the language as much as it deserves (and it really, truly, deserves a lot of appreciation).

Drinking Midnight Wine by Simon R. Green – a story of a man in his thirties who has everything – a paid-for house in a charming town near the scenic and historic Bath, a low-effort job in a charming old bookstore that pays for all his necessities, a few buddies he drinks with at the local pubs, and his health.

Yet, he is not content.

His life is empty, lonely, purposeless… He follows a beautiful woman through a mysterious door and becomes a Focal Point, Champion of Humankind, and Important. He also develops a golden tongue and awesome artifact-assisted fighting skills. After a lot of exposition he Saves the World and Gets the Woman of His Dreams.

Good solid example of the genre, the author’s liking for his characters and the rich backstory in his head are obvious and touching, but the main character wakes the cynic in me, and once woken the cynic nitpicks.

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