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.

 

What I am Reading and why…

I’ve just checked my goodreads account and I’ve just realised I’ve got like 6 books currently on the go. I’ve gone a bit scattered at the moment. My main joy is reading fiction but I’ve also got an audio book on the go along with several books that could be described as self-help books.

book 1

book 2

The fiction I am reading Peter Newman’s The Seven which is the concluding part to the Vagrant trilogy, its a heavy hardback so its more for reading at home than for reading on the tube, but it appears I’m a huge hypocrite because I’m taking Becky Chambers Record of a Spaceborn Few everywhere with me and reading it whilst trying not to cry from the immense level of feels that I get. I’m also listening to Audible’s new recording of Arabian Nights which I am enjoying when I remember to listen to it…

And then there are the self-help books. I’m reading Susan Calman’s Cheer Up Love:Adventures in Depression with the Crab of Hate because I’ve been having a hard time recently and its been reassuring to read about someone else’s experiences and measure my own against them. Likewise Matt Haig’s Notes on a Nervous Planet because as an ever more anxious person I am always interested in other people’s experiences of it and how they cope.

Then there’s Spark Joy. I am chaos. It follows in my wake, I never feel like I can properly tidy because I can never put everything away. I’ve been reading the first couple of chapters and Yes things need to change and I’m reading this book to see if I think that this might work for me.

I’m not usually quite this scatter gun in my approach to reading but that’s kind of what’s going on at the moment. My brain feels like it needs all these different inputs and I’m kind of wanting to make lots of changes to what’s going on with me and what’s going on around me. And because I have a large amount of Herminone Granger going on inside I start with books.

One that hasn’t made it onto my goodreads list is Geting Things Done by David Allen because I have just been feeling of late that things have been getting away from me and that has to stop. there has to be control and I need to plan rather than react. Reacting to everything is exceedingly tiring. Lets kick some ass instead.

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.

Outside the Comfort Zone

I wanted to write about reading outside of my comfort zone and it has got a bit weird. Firstly I tried to define what my personal comfort zone is and I couldn’t. If I say fantasy I have to immediately re-qualify it with not all fantasy and I guess that is the thing. Its easier for me to say what I am unlikely to touch which feels negative.

For the last few years I’ve binged mainly on Fantasy and SCience Fiction and all kinds of funky subgenres inside. I’ve dabbled with reading paranormal romance and enjoyed some of it but I struggle with some of the established tropes.

I guess that the above paragraph sums it up although it doesn’t do justice to the breadth and depth of what I do read. I adore ‘literary’ writing as well but nothing shocks me so much as when I dip a toe in a neglected genre and I find I enjoy the novel I’ve found.

I feel like I construct myself from the books I read. If I stay too long in an era or world I will start speaking like a character. I once told my old boss that I would be obliged if she would do something after reading the complete Jane Austen. I seek other times and other places because reading for me is the ultimate escape I regain energy by retreating from reality for a bit. And when I say I construct myself I have deliberately avoiding genres like Romance and Chick-lit because I don’t want to be defined by those elements. That said when I have been persuaded to read something from that area I have loved the novels but something stops me from pursuing more titles in that area. Likewise thrillers and detective novels and manly men grr books also put me off.

I should try and read more widely. I recently read something that would normally be way outside of my comfort zone. Gemini Cell by Myke Cole is probably best described as military fiction meets fantasy. Its set in a contemporary world but magic has been returning and the US government are using magic and jinn in order to create super soldiers. It really isn’t something I would ever have picked up but I’ve been following Myke Cole on twitter, heard him on Tea and Jeopardy’s podcast and he seems like a fascinating guy and so I picked up the book.

The book itself was good, strange because a lot of the tropes deployed were unfamiliar and it took a while to get used to the writing style.  A couple of moments I found somewhat difficult to deal with but for the most part it was well thought out and very enjoyable.

Will I read something like this again?  Yes but not straight away.