Some random book thoughts for January 2013
After finally managing to finish Land of the Burning Sands by Rachel Neumeier I went right into Who I Am by Pete Townshend of The Who, and it was an interesting look back at his own life through his memories. As with most autobiographies, I wonder how much of what Townshend recalls is really how things actually occurred. I would have preferred Townshend write a memoir like David Crosby did in Long Time Gone, where Crosby pens his recollections of incidents while having others also write about those stories from their points of view. Not so surprisingly, Crosby’s drug-hazed memories seldom told the whole story. Who I am is still a great book though, but it could have been better.
Once I finished Who I Am I did a complete change of gears and read Steelhands by Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett. They’ve written an odd series called “The Volstovic Cycle” that at times I’m not certain I’ve liked, and yet every time a new book is released in paperback I unhesitatingly buy it. Steelhands is by far the best of the four, making me actually care about some of the newer characters as much as I did about many of the older ones, and it nicely wraps up the two major story lines from their book. It will be interesting to see what direction, if any, they take the series now with very few loose ends left to untangle.
In an oddity, Jones and Bennett have the absolute worst web presence of any “major” authors, with an official site that hasn’t been updated in years. They have a tumblr blog, which someone should whisper in their ears is a poor way to inform potential fans about their previous works. They also have a facebook page, which again is not a good substitute for a professionally run website.
As I mentioned in last month’s posting one of the books I was waiting for Tom Clancy’s Threat Vector. Clancy is one of the very few authors whose books I buy in hardcover, usually on the day it comes out. It, of course, jumped right to the top of the “to read’ stack and Threat Vector didn’t disappoint. Clancy has lost a little on his fastball since the days of The Hunt for Red October and Red Storm Rising, but with some input from co-author Mark Greaney Clancy again hits the mark with Threat Vector.
In talking about Threat Vector a friend mentioned something about the reviews on Amazon (which if you read my post about Amazon you know I never read) that claimed that most of the “5 star” reviews were likely phony reviews from bots. While I may be a phony, I’m not a bot. Five stars.
The last book for 2012 I read was Spellbound by Larry Correia, which is Book II of “The Grimnoir Chronicles”. If you’re not reading this and his “Monster Hunter” series, you should be. Both are well written series that push the limits of what “standard” modern fantasy novels work upon. Set in the pulp fiction era “The Grimnoir Chronicles” adds an interesting twist to magic and how people come about having powers. I don’t want to give anything away because it might ruin the series to know what’s really happening, but check out the first book Hard Magic and then Spellbound. You won’t be disappointed.
Right now I’m reading The Red Wolf Conspiracy, the first book in the “The Chathrand Voyage Quartet” by Robert V.S. Redick. I’m about a third of the way through, and so far it’s pretty good. I already have the second book, The Ruling Sea, so it’s a pretty good bet I’ll be continuing with the series. Before I get to the second one I have Covert Warriors by W.E.B. Griffin and The Columbus Affair by Steve Berry to get to. Both I just purchased and jumped them ahead in the “to read” pile.
I saw the list of expected science fiction/fantasy novels for January, but nothing really caught my eye. It’s always different when you can pick up the book and actually look at it though. I still haven’t rediscovered listings for future releases in other genres, so I’m hoping to be surprised over the next few weeks.