What I’ve been reading

Its 1st September and I’m not entirely sure where August went. I have spectacularly failed to review the books I’ve been reading so instead  I’m going to  summarise what I’ve read instead.

So I have been reading a variety of things and really want to recommend them all.

HeartlandFirstly I read Lucy Hounsom’s Heartland which is the middle book in the world maker trilogy.

This is the second part of Kyndra’s story and I loved how it unfolded. It felt different to a lot of trilogies in that Kyndra wasn’t all that pleased to be Starborn. The powers that she has come into are terrifying for her and this novel is more about coming to terms with that.

The characters that I loved in Starborn are still there. Nediah and Breganne, Gareth.  This instalment took us places I didn’t expect and was the better because of it.  I really found it a satisfying read and I am glad I already have the final part of the trilogy Firestorm all ready to go.

one damned thing.jpgThe second book I have read recently is about as far away as you can get from Hounsom’s epic fantasy.  Just One Damned Thing After Another were recommended to me recently I have been really glad that this series has been as it is tremendous fun.

The first in a series of I think eight or nine novels and MANY short stories this is a time travel romp with lots of shenanigans and several secrets in the telling.

Its not without its flaws and the tone felt somewhat inconsistent  the pacing was all over the place and it really would have benefitted from a good editor.  It reads like fanfic and I say that with a lot of love. I will definitely read more but I want there to be a tighter narrative to make things work a bit better for me.

 

Review: The Silver Tide by Jen Williams

silvertideTrilogies are tricky things to work properly they should do more than simply be one long story there should be themes that ebb and flow. Narratives which build and peak and then build again. I usually count myself lucky if the trilogy I read is three decent books which hold together well. And then there’s Jen William’s Copper Cat trilogy which I am so deeply in love with right now it is a little bit obscene.

Here is my review of the Silver Tide, there will necessarily be spoilers for The Copper Promise and the Iron Ghost.

The Silver Tide is more than just a fitting close to an epic trilogy it touched so many of the right spots that I am literally seeing stars.

Wydrin is an amazing character I love her, I want to be her. She is strong and vulnerable and complex and I want to go out drinking with her although I’m not sure my liver would take it anymore. She is the centre of the trilogy she doesn’t get to wield magic and she doesn’t father a race of dragon kin but she binds the Blackfeather three together.

Sebastian regularly breaks my heart he’s basically a paladin and I love Paladins. A gay paladin who inadvertently becomes father to a race of dragon kin and who keeps falling for the wrong man.

And then we have Lord Aaron Frith who would claim to hate it but I just want to smoosh him forever because he really needs it.

The action picks up not long after the events of The Iron Ghost and the Blackfeather Three are coming to terms with past events. All are haunted by choices they have made along the way and the bonds that did hold them do not seem as strong as they once were.

The group accompany Devinia the Red a female Pirate captain who just so happens to be Wydrin’s mother on an expedition to an island unlike any other.

There is so much to love about The Silver Tide, three complex lead characters who all have their own agenda and their own motivations and past scars that guide their actions throughout. They feel so truthful and honestly rendered. In addition there is a supporting cast of diverse and interesting characters. Devinia who is everything you want from a pirate captain. Ephemeral, Sebastian’s dragon kin ‘daughter’ who is a ruthless hunter who wants to read books and to learn. In addition there are many characters whom I just wanted to root for and and can’t mentnion them because of spoilers butlots of them were women. Women in command, women being powerful in other ways it made my heart swell a lot.

Individually each of the novels in this trilogy work. There is no two towers sense of things are continuing along. There are three distinct stories but as a trilogy there are callbacks to earlier events which tie things together without relying too heavily on each other for meaning and this is to be applauded. Each novel has been pitched beautifully for tension. Williams teases the reader with climatic events which increase in scope within each book. So many huge things happen in The Silver Tide that I may have whooped and punched the air more than once. Its an exhilarating read and it is a rewarding one too. The ending to the trilogy was not just satisfying it was pretty much perfect bitter sweet and I am spent.

Review The Silver Witch by Paula Brackston

The Silver Witch is a lovely story. Set in Brecon Beacons it features two women a millennium apart with a story that is told between them. I really liked this premise, Tilda is the modern lead a young woman with albinism, widowed dealing with the stress and trauma of losing her husband in a road traffic accident. Her historical counterpart is Seren, witch and seer for the Prince Brynach and his followers on the crannog.

This novel really is about Tilda’s recovery, at the beginning she is raw from her loss and embarking upon this new life, the one that she should have been starting with Mat. She is incredibly fragile, she seems unable to look after herself and when strange things start happening to her it does feel like this woman may be about to breakdown.

Seren on the other hand is an amazing character of depth and strength who never falters in her actions she can see what other people are doing and she does her best to steer the Prince to understand and to avoid disasters.

image002As the novel unfolds it becomes clear that Tilda and Seren are linked, the true nature of the link is explored with a couple of red herrings along the way. I have to say I thought I had sussed everything out and was pleasantly surprised when things got twisted towards the end. This is a book about women and the power they possess. Tilda’s journey from rock bottom to capable is a joy, I loved the way she wanted to work things out for herself, that yes there is a love interest in Dylan but that Tilda regularly takes herself off alone to work things out because that is the best way for her.

Where Seren and Tilda felt quite real to me, the male characters at times didn’t feel as detailed, they were there but not quite in focus. Some of the historical characters felt like thumb nail sketches and I would have liked more details about Wenna and Nesta. This may be down to the choice of writing Tilda in third person present tense and Seren in first person present as a reader we live within Seren and can’t understand characters she interacts with with the same detachment that we can in Tilda’s segments.

Overall I thought the novel hung together well, the pacing felt quite staid for the first half and there times I was a bit frustrated with Tilda constantly going out for runs. That said it’s a great book, It kept me reading and I really wanted to know how everything was going to end. It’s a perfect read for a winter afternoon with a large mug of tea and a few biscuits.

The Winter Witch is published by Corsair.