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.
Firstly 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.
The 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.
I went to the press night for the new production of The Importance of Being Earnest at the Vaudeville.Now this play is one of my favourites and one I know reasonably well I’ve seen it a number of times, not least getting to play Gwendolen as part of my A-Level in theatre studies performance element. Its a text I’m familiar with and I love the wit in the text.
Most productions I have seen have been quite restrained.Clipped words with precision and everything being so very proper.But this production really reinvigorated the text for me and made the play incredibly sexy and beautifully queer. Gwendolen (PippaNixon) rubs up against the piano suggestively and Cecily (Fiona Button) is not the doe-eyed ingenue but a young lady who knows exactly what she wants.
It feels like a very modern direction, everyone is very definitely inhabiting their bodies and reacting physically.Algernon (Fehinti Balogan) is louche, decadent and intent on living for pleasure.Jack (Jacob Fortune-Lloyd)is wound so tight, clearly adoring Algernon and so frustrated with him, often in the same speech.
But I have to single out Lady Bracknell because Sophie Thompson was amazing using her incredible vocal dexterity to wring out every nuance she could from the script yet deliberately underplayed ‘a handbag?!?’ So much so I almost missed it.But that could also be said for the rest of the cast.Subtext was brought to fore, everything was enunciated and inflected so that the audience could be left in no doubt what the characters were thinking.It felt stylised but it also showcased the script so that we didn’t miss a thing and I bloody loved it.
I loved that food was important characters stress ate, fed each other often in a counter point to what people were saying.
This production shone new light on an old favourite and made it new and glorious and I would definitely want to see it again.
I am exceedingly fortunate, I got to attend a Q&A with Becky Chambers at Waterstones Gower Street. Becky talked about her process and her wayfarers universe. Oh my word he is just as engaging in person as her novels are. … Continue reading →
Adrian Tchaikovsky writes books that make you think and The Expert System’s Brother is no exception. Handry is our protagonist and along with his sister are a pair of orphans in their village. Their village appears to be idealised that … Continue reading →
Over the last couple of years every now and again I read a book by Anne Lyle and I always feel that I should be reading more of her. I’ve just finished her marvellous Night Masque trilogy with the Prince … Continue reading →
Its rare that I feel compelled to write about something I’m reading before I’ve finished reading it but Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Children of Time has crawled under my skin and it is preying on my mind so I need to tell you all why. Continue reading →
Shattered Minds by Laura Lam is the second of her Pacifica novels. It isn’t a sequel to False Hearts but it does have links between the two. Shattered minds is a tense thriller with a cast of flawed characters. Lam … Continue reading →
13 Minutes is an incredible novel. Sarah Pinborough’s writing really got under my skin in a way that very few authors really manage to do. It is about the shifting allegiances that make up teenaged girls friendships and frankly it is terrifying. Continue reading →
Trilogies 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.