Moonlake’s Book Discoveries- June 2016

Due to my involvement with the ePub, I had mainly been reading short stories or Agatha Christie mysteries.

Short story collections

Wonders of the Invisible World by Patricia McKillip

I like her prose which belongs to the flowing school, what others potentially call verbose. I’m generally a fan of such a style and that’s the main reason I’m such a die-hard fan of Tolkien. Btw, to me, Tolkien is not verbose, it could be lengthy, yes, but the words are well spent because they convey very evocative images of the atmosphere. But then again, that’s just my personal opinion.

A couple of the stories contain elements of female-centred romance at their core which I’m not such a fan of despite my own gender. I love fantasy because of the opportunities they provide me to get immersed in awesome lore and otherworldly culture. In particular, epic fantasy is my one true love because I have a bit of a philosophical bending and I love to read about human truisms reflected in the action of characters in an epic fantasy. But overall I still the writing style of the author. It’s a pity, though, that I won’t be able to read more of her work since my local library doesn’t stock any of her standalone novels or series.

 

Prickle Moon by Juliet Marilllier

Not that I can pinpoint exactly why but the writing style of the author doesn’t really captivate me in a general sense. There are a few stories among the 14 here that I like but mostly I’m quite indifferent to most in this collection.

 

Hall of the Lost Footsteps by Sara Douglas

What makes an impact on me from this short story collection isn’t any story included in it but rather a piece include from this deceased author’s blog entry titled “The Silence of the Dying”. I would highly recommend that people look it up just to get a very relevant perspective on how our society is get shaped into.

 

Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski

I like this translated work mainly cos it stars the separate adventures of a single protagonist and thereby I get to read up on a bunch of related stories. This is probably more my idiosyncrasy as a reader cos I tend to enjoy longer works that allows me greater immersion into one setting.

 

Elric of Melnibone and Other Short stories by Michael Moorcock

At first, I feel a little weird about this book because in one of the short standalone story early on, the author keep putting in all these side-line notes to his illustrator or whoever that he gets from his background as a comic writer that continuously pull me out of the moment. But I really like the novella in here. In particular, I like the setting very much. The main character Elric I’m okay with it in the sense that I think he has interesting dynamics but I’m not crazy about him.

 

Crossroads and other Tales of Valdemar edited by Mercedes Lackey

A little surprisingly, I find that overall I enjoy this short story collection which I originally felt was leaning too much on the YA side and plus I previously read another of Mercedes’ work in a short story collection containing three pieces by three different authors and I don’t particularly enjoy her writing style nor despise it. But I find that the pieces actually included aren’t too childish for my taste at all and as is my wont, I really like inter-related stories whether through the same characters or the same setting. I won’t say any particular story is spectacularly written but there are a few that I think are solid pieces of work.

 

Novels

It’s been an Agatha Christie period for me since I want to do light reading only. And I realised after I got back into her work that really I think I wronged her a little when previously I wrote about her in Moonlake’s Reading Tastes and that’s because back then, I haven’t read her for a while and really forgotten about how she’s like as an author. But really, I think she deserves to be known as the Queen of Crime because her books are plot-centric and I personally feel that plot-centric mysteries are the ‘pure type of mysteries’ that I really enjoy as opposed to work by newer authors that are character driven. That’s my own reader taste but there it is.

 

I read the following books by her (or based upon her work):

Poirot Investigates

This is a collection of a bunch of cases starring Poirot. Pretty good light reading.

 

Unexpected Guest

This is a novelisation of her theatrical play so technically it’s not by her. But the author didn’t do a bad work in my opinion. I didn’t like the end as being too melodramatic and suddenly turning in the direction of a love drama but I can see that it would potentially have great impact in the theatre. After all, that’s what the story was originally written for.

 

Death on the Nile

Her classic big surprise at the end got me and I’m the type of reader who is glad of such a thing. Not one of her work that I really admire but not bad. Plus it taught me a little trick of how to bring in pitch into dialogue.

 

They came to Baghdad

I rather like her description of Baghdad and I actually got a good picture in my head of how it was like in her era though that is partly attributable to the fact that I’m Chinese. Plot-wise, had a few pleasant surprises for me but it’s another one of hers that I sorta liked but don’t really love.

 

Incomplete Reading

Warriors edited by George R. R. Martin

A short story collection based on the theme of warriors but spanning across genres. I tend to like the stories contained in this volume a fair bit compared to all the others I had actually finished above. I actually find two female authors that I would rather like to follow, Robin Hobb being one. I didn’t finish it but I will re-borrow from my local library at a later point in time.

 

The Inheritance by Megan Lindholm & Robin Hobb

I only got to the Megan stories and didn’t really enjoy them. They are still solid pieces of work but still don’t speak to me as a reader. Didn’t get to the Hobb stories and so another tagged for re-borrowing.

 

The Mistborn #1 by Brandon Sanderson

I got high recommendation for this series from multiple sources but apparently I don’t really like Brandon’s writing style. Or actually, I should say I don’t really like his writing style for the main text, I rather enjoyed the snippets he put before the start of his Chapter to do with world lore. I only got to Chapter 8 or thereabouts and really, I felt like I was reading a new form of spy thriller/fantasy. Then again, I’ve been addicted to Mainland Chinese TV drama of spy thrillers and maybe I was just seeing everything from a spy thriller lens.

Overall, not sure whether I will re-read this but might if I become desperate of having a fantasy series to read.

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