What book are you reading now/have finished?


#182

A really weird thing happened a while ago. I was talking with my partner about movies and I asked “what was that film where they had the car on the ice and they bet money on when it would fall through and there was the body in the car?” and she totally didn’t know what I was talking about. I said I thought it was Fargo or something, which it wasn’t, but I was sure I wouldn’t have seen whatever it was without her.

I was remembering the scene from American Gods which I read when we were first dating. Somehow I remembered it as a movie we’d watched together!


#183

It’s a solid 6/10 or so. Not great, but does a good job of being analogous to some famous Japanese killers.


#184

Ah that is interesting. I kind of looking forward to seeing more about the detective, I’ve been told he is a pretty interesting character. I did have trepidation reading this though as the friend that recommended it to me has just the worst taste in books.


#185

I recently read Joe Abercrombie’s The First Law trilogy. In many ways, its a very generic fantasy story in its setting but the action and pacing of the books is gripping. The last book ties the plot together incredibly well and it was one of my favorite reads of 2018.

The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie

When describing the characters of The Blade Itself, other reviewers typically say that its main characters would have been villains in other fantasy stories. That is a bit of an overstatement as the fan-favorites of Ninefingers (the barbarian), Glotka (the torturer), and Bayaz (the wizard) all operate with some sense of a moral code despite their casual use of violence. These three characters are all lovable anti-heroes rather than villains, which is why I actually find two of his other characters more interesting, West and Jezal. West is the Miles O’Brien everyman character but unlike Miles O’Brien from Star Trek, West has everyman character flaws that are harder to forgive. These problems – without getting into details – make me uncomfortable, but I appreciate novelty even if it borders on being shooed in. Jezal on the other hand is the archetypal haughty young noble who gets his comeuppance by the plucky protagonist. I like that Abercrombie eschews this typical narrative by not only making him a main character, but by also making his character development slow and at times in regression. Jezal actually gets more than he rightly deserves which is a bold choice. The best parts of book is that the characters are within close proximity of each other for most of the book and we get to hear their opinions of each other as the story unfolds. Abercrombie’s writing and plotting is utilitarian but good enough to keep the story flowing at a good pace. I’ve come to appreciate clearer writing like his even if it sometimes is lacking in depth.

Finished 12/28/18

3/5 stars

Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie

The writing and character work of the sequel, Before They Are Hanged, is better than the original. However, I prefer the plot structure of the first book which had characters interacting with each other more. Fan-favorite Glotka gets to show off the most as he tortures, cajoles, and surprises his enemies with both his humanity and lack thereof. But the larger problem with Before They Are Hanged is the over-usage of the “idiot-ball.” Too many side characters are characterized plainly by Abercrombie as idiots who make bad decisions. These characters exist only to keep the plot moving quickly rather than being interesting by themselves. Abercrombie’s storytelling is too simplified and too obvious in his attempts to get past the setup and straight to the action scenes already. Still, his action scenes are a ton of fun and I breezed through the book in a little over a day. 3/5 stars.

Finished 12/30/18

3/5 stars

Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie

Joe Abercrombie’s twitter handle is LordGrimdark, perhaps a bit tongue-in-cheek but he truly does demonstrate what grimdark fantasy means in Last Argument of Kings. Grimdark isn’t simply the physical punishment and deaths of characters, it’s also destroying their mental wellbeing and their moral center. It makes the characters question the worth of humanity and worse, makes them stop believing in man’s ability to change for the better. Abercrombie really relishes in the suffering of his characters with over 100 pages in the end exploring the consequences of their actions. In some ways, it’s refreshing to experience a straight bitter rather than bittersweet ending (okay there is maybe 2g of sugar in a kilogram of cacao), but it’s not an experience I would seek again. Well done, Abercrombie but I’m going to avoid you for a while.

Spoilers: Isn’t there a plot hole with locking up Tolomei in the Maker’s House? It’s said several times that Bayaz tricked her into unlocking the front gate while she was on the balcony. Therefore, the front gate being locked does not lock the balcony. Tolomei is touched by the other side and cannot die, so if she wanted to escape, couldn’t she simply jump off the balcony once more?

Finished 1/3/19

4/5 stars


#186

Weirdly I have much fonder memories of this series in hindsight compared to when I read them. I mostly got through because the audiobook narrator was so good and, as you said, things move along pretty briskly.

But I was almost angry at the end because up until the very end, it seems like way more of a generic fantasy story than it actually is. The story is way more interesting and clever than that. BUT it hides the fact for TWO AND A HALF NOVELS before revealing how clever it is.

Listeners to my podcast had complained I wasn’t reading enough into the second book, because there was more to it. But I couldn’t know how much more or what more because, unlike them, I hadn’t read the third book and was judging the first and second on their own strengths and weaknesses, not the series as a whole. And you can’t retroactively apply story knowledge to earlier stories when read later.


#187

Hyperion By Dan Simmons

I liked the story and the format, it’s a story of seven people telling their stories inside the story, the Wuthering Heights of scifi!.The world is imaginative and actually pretty fascinating, it’s high scifi that’s pushed into the realm of “technology may as well be magic!” and I really dig it. To be honest you could have probably made the whole book out of just the counsel’s story.

I really did not like the ending, it’s like, to barrow from the story’s ending, as if you’re reading the Wizard of Oz and it ends right when they say “Wizard will see you now!”

I’m not interested enough to continue reading right now. Maybe later if I am searching for something else to read.


#188

If you enjoyed the book I would definitely recommend you at least read Fall of Hyperion. It answers all the questions left open by the first book and ties almost everything up pretty definitively


#189

Yes, definitely read the second Hyperion book.

But then, for the love of all that’s holy, stop there. Do not read past the second book. Just pretend Hyperion is a duology.


#190

I only made it half way through Fall of Hyperion. :frowning:

Maybe one of the most disappointing follow up novel to an original novel I loved so much.


#191

The ending of the second book is was really disappointing and I took 2 days off before going on to the next book. Sure there’s a surprise factor to the cliffhanger but it didn’t fill me with a desire to continue reading. Last Argument of Kings had more interesting things happen in that single book than the previous two books combined. Maybe the series could have been a stronger story as only two books. My friends are making their way through the second book so I’m curious whether they’ll sniff out the setups that pay off in the last book.


#192

Very much a two book series with an extra book in the middle. But this happens a lot, so it’s hardly worth worrying about.


#193

Canterbury Tales?


#194

If you’re into ye olde englesh, sure!


#195

Started reading Vampire Hunter D after a bit of a lazy winter. Maaaaaan is that a good book. really drew me in from the start, can’t wait to mine deeper in this.


#196

Just started reading this one over the weekend. It has some personal meaning to me as my dad and uncle were among those who fought in these wars:

https://www.helion.co.uk/portugal-s-guerilla-wars-in-africa-lisbon-s-three-wars-in-angola-mozambique-and-portugese-guinea-1961-156.html