The OF Blog: Too many books read, too little time

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Too many books read, too little time

I seem to have become swamped for time/energy the past week or so. I have a huge backlog of books read that I wanted to review, some of which will end up being reviewed at more length later this year when I've read their sequels. So with that in mind, here are some books that I enjoyed reading that I will try to review in the coming weeks:

Elizabeth Bear, Blood and Iron; Whiskey and Water - these are the first two books in her Promethean Age series. Since she has two others coming out later this year, I'll probably wait until then to review all four of them at once. I can say that I enjoyed these two volumes that have an interesting urban history/secret history take on contemporary life.

Paul Kearney, The Mark of Ran - This first volume to his Sea Beggars series was very concisely-written, but I just didn't feel much of a spark to it. But there's enough promise that the succeeding novels will be read in due time, at which time I might revisit this for a full review.

David Keck, In the Eye of Heaven; In a Time of Treason (ARC) - Speaking of authors whose books benefited from a revisit, I found his first volume to be much more enjoyable the second time through than when I originally read it about 9 months ago. It improved in my opinion to being a passable secondary-world fantasy and the second volume (coming out on February 19th) improved significantly from the first. I will try to free up the time to write a fleshed-out review sometime in early February.

Joe Abercrombie, The Blade Itself - This was one of those debut novels that I put off buying for some time due to the rather vociferous praise it was receiving in some forums that I frequent. I read it, found it to be promising, but there were some problems that I had with the prose that hopefully I'll address in a full review in the coming weeks.

Daniel Abraham, A Shadow in Summer - After a sluggish start, I found myself enjoying this one quite a bit and I want to read A Betrayal in Winter soon, as I think it would be best if I review the two halves together.

Jeffrey Ford, The Portrait of Mrs. Charbuque - I loved the premise behind this 2002 novel and how well Ford executed it, despite a few rough patches near the end. If I have time, I'll write out a fuller review in the next month, but if not, suffice to say this is a novel that I would urge people to consider reading.

Edward Carey, Observatory Mansions - I bought a used edition of this book after seeing it in Jay Tomio's Top 100 for the past decade and seeing that the story of a very quirky group of people living in a rather dilapidated apartment complex might hold something of worth. I enjoyed it, although certainly its rather "odd" narrator might be offputting for those who are unwilling to try reading a tale told by an O-C personality type PoV.

Richard Morgan, Market Forces - I enjoyed this screenplay-turned-novel more than I thought I would, although the story of a rogue capitalist/freebooter might not be the sort of tale that's going to appeal to the Kovacs crowd.

Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, Salon Fantastique - While I enjoyed many of the tales told here (Jeffrey Ford's "Night Whiskey" being a highlight of the anthology for me), most of the stories just didn't feel as though the authors challenged themselves enough. They were competently-told and written well, but some of the pieces just didn't work for me and I'm going to have to take the time some time to ponder why that was so.

Those were the first-time reads that I wanted to cover in more depth, but which in some cases might have to wait a while. After all, I really do want to get on with writing/posting my review of that Le Guin omnibus that I mentioned last week, but do expect at least some of these to have a full review written in the coming weeks.

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