Before we get to the good stuff, I’ve apparently already finished 31 books this year. Woohoo! And my gaming group has finally come back together after a long hiatus and we are running a Shadowrun game so I’m reading quite a fair bit of the novels in that setting to get up to speed.
Born to Run by Stephen Kenson
It’s a good light reading: the story starts fast and you can really speed through each of the tight short chapters if that’s your thing. I tend to be slow to warm up to characters and I think I did start feeling for Kellan right towards the end of the book.
Poisoned Agendas by Stephen Kenson
I enjoyed the second installment of Kellan’s adventures and the title is nice, serves as a bit of a double entredre with respect to the story.
Fallen Angels by Stephen Kenson
Things are coming to a head for Kellan and I’m glad that she found her happy ending.
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
One of my friends recently finished this and I just remembered it when I was searching for my next fantasy read. I would say that it’s not for everyone and not particularly for me. The plot is really wandering and the protagonist seems quite aimless most of the time except that you understand it is something deep seated (I wouldn’t say what it is for fear it becomes a spoiler) that drives him which ties up with the author’s conception of the source of magic which has a bit of freshness to it. I also felt like a key setting of this series is like a tribute to (or alternative take on) the Chronicles of Narnia (although I just watched the movies, never read the books). Also, this is urban fantasy and my preference obviously still runs towards the more classical fantasy set in ancient times. But I still intend to finish this series if only because I was interested in a development later on in the series when I first heard about it (and that was before my friend mentioned he had read this book)
The Magician King by Lev Grossman (Penguin audiobook)
At first I thought I made a big mistake in listening to an audiobook version of it because the story itself is just so meandering or I should say the early Quentin chapters were meandering just like book 1. What really saved me was really the Julia chapters plus I was curious about her in book 1 (I also knew about the sections on Julia before I dipped my toes into the trilogy and that was what attracted me to read this series to see how that worked in practice besides that the fact that my friends recently reading book 1 reminded me of this series).
The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman (Penguin audiobook)
The grand finale ties up a few loose ends from book 1 and 2. And if Quentin was drifting most of the time in book 1 and 2, in book 3 we finally see a Quentin who knows what he is doing. And I must say it does have a satisfying ending.
Into the Shadows edited by Jordan K. Weisman
This is a collection of 8 Shadowrun short stories plus one novella at the end. Unlike most short story collections, the stories actually all tie together at the end so that might be something to look forward to if, like me, you tend to prefer novels to short stories. Other than that, the stories themselves all have the usual fast pace style for this setting.
The Forever Drug by Lisa Smedman
Still a good fast-paced adventure in the Shadowrun setting. I’m not quite sure about my feelings about this novel though. I thought I might get a cliffhanger feeling from the novel but that’s not what I felt. Then again, maybe that is an academic concern (side effect of my job and how my mind works).
The House of the Sun by Nigel D. Findley
Another fast-paced adventure from the Shadowrun setting that I like okay. The name of the book doesn’t come clear until the very last few chapters.
Spellwright by Blake Charlton
I like it so far- the protagonist is part of a prophecy or rather three different prophecies which gives this prophecy business a fresh twist. I was also drawn to this series because it features a magic system based on language and the author’s portrayal wasn’t quite how I imagined it but it’s still interesting. I’m not finished with this novel so more to follow on this and subsequent books of this trilogy in December.
The Resurrectionist by Jack O’Connell
This novel was packaged as a noir fantasy thriller but I’m not feeling much of the thriller aspect. I mean, there is a central mystery and there is a kind of twist at the end that didn’t feel like a twist, more a revelation of previously hidden information. But I still feel like it’s more like a loose urban fantasy- set in the modern with fantasy elements. There is another additional narrative line that features a fictional comic and the characters in the comic that actually feeds back into the main plot of a pharmacist with a young son who has fallen into coma and his encounters in this new clinic which specialises in coma patients. Overall, I feel like this novel is more literary fiction than anything else. It’s got some deep themes but the writing is not actually meant to absorb or excite you.
Paradise by Toni Morrison
I was going to read her The Bluest Eye to study the omniscient POV but since I was giving priority to ebooks I borrowed this instead. I don’t think the story is particularly my cup of tea. I didn’t find the story engaging and I was sometimes confused by various townspeople. But I did like the ending. I had expected a much darker story based on the start but turns out this is a story about hope and personal redemption. So I can’t say I like the book personally but I think it is well written for those who actually read literary fiction as their main genre.