Monthly Archives: March 2011

Going Postal

Have I really only read 6 books since February 20th? Well, no, this one I just finished. And Stephanie took Shalako while I was half done. And I’m not putting those two on here…hmmm. I need to read more.

Going Postal by Terry Pratchett. One of my all time favorite authors. This one follows Moist von Lipwig as he, with the help of Lord Vetinari, becomes Ankh-Morpork’s Postmaster General.

I could have sworn I had a different picture open on the computer, but when I went to grab it, it had changed to the red one. So confused.

I love this book! I read it before, a while back, but I bought it yesterday, and didn’t feel like reading Callaghen (my next Louis L’Amour book). It’s a tremendous comedy, but still makes really good points about life. I’m butchering the explanation of it, I always do with these books. Read it. It’s great.

My favorite part is near the beginning. Though Moist isn’t very happy with his new job or the people he has to work with, he spends time to go learn about pins for Stanley. He even spends a good bit of money-just to be able to talk to him. Now, maybe he just wants Stanley on his side, but still. He did something nice completely of his own volition. And then, he goes and asks someone about golems, because he doesn’t want to be acting wrong. It’s very conscientious of him.  Mr. Pump is my favorite character because he has such a personality without actually having a personality. Plus, who can’t love someone who speaks in capital letters. (Not like Death, Just Like This.) Least favorite…Adora Belle Dearheart and the newspaper chick aren’t great. The former smokes too much and the later is annoying with her constant pestering for a statement.

Something I love about Terry Pratchett books is how he puts in bits of other people’s lives. Yes, the book was about Moist and Adora Belle Dearheart (I tried, I really tried to only write her first name. It didn’t work.) and the post office, but the reader also gets a minute glance into the lives of the clacks workers at Tower 181 or into the life of the Igor employed by Gilt. Surely, that much indepthness was not needed to convey those parts of the story, but the reader is left with a sense of a bigger story. There is always a world full of minor characters.


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Fire and Ice

Fire and Ice by Dana Stabenow. 264 pages, but I read it on my iPhone, so it actually had like 1160 pages or something. It was first published in 1998 and is apparently out of print? That’s the way her website sounded. Either way, it’s free on iPhones and iPads and .99 cents on Amazon and B&

I don’t typically read books like this. I consider this in the category of books advertised for adults, mysteries  in real life, where they speak ‘tersely’ to each other. Whether ‘terse’ ever comes up in the book or not, this book fits in that category, at least in my head. So, I only read it because I recognized the author from stuff my mom reads and it was free. Who doesn’t like free.

I like the character-Liam (love that name). I liked that he had weaknesses-the fear of flying especially. He overcame it rather easily, in my opinion, but he had good reason. The action was fast paced, especially in the beginning. One complaint I have, though, is about back story. There is alot of history, both of Liam and between him and Wy that is left until late to explain. For a good part of the book I thought Liam had been demoted for being a drunk driver in an accident that killed 5 people including his wife and son. This is wrong, and I’m glad because he really didn’t seem the type.

The key clue is mentioned at the beginning, and then later, is mentioned as missing. Liam notices, but the book never specifically explains. Then, way later, Liam is snooping and finds a scarf in Wy’s drawer. He’s surprised by what is wrapped in the scarf, but goes into a flashback and never explains! Then, obviously, that piece of information turns out to be the pivotal clue that lets Liam solve the crime. And at the end, he ties it all together like he’s known what was going on the entire time. That’s frustrating. Flashes of inspiration are great and all, but when the clues are there from the beginning and the reader is not allowed to figure out the mystery on their own at all, it’s annoying. It was a good book though.

Moses, and the raven didn’t seem to fit well into the story. He was too mystical-even talking about the voices that let him know things-but the book was in real life. He had all the answers and provided just the right advice at the exact right time to keep Liam on the right track. Like an archetypal mentor to the extreme.

Wolfe was a good villain, motivated by money and power as usual. Hmm. Liam’s my favorite, and probably John (forget his last name), the Trooper commander person. Moses or Laura is my least favorite because of lack of depth, in my opinion.

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Iron Angel

I read the version on the left. 493 pages. Iron Angel is the sequel to Scar Night by Alan Campbell. I first read Scar Night because I was browsing the sci-fi section of the library and it stood out. It’s cover is light blue and black-not common colors in the sci-fi section. So, I grabbed it, made sure it wasn’t a sequel, and took it home, without reading the back. I do that kinda often. If it looks good, I’ll check it out, regardless of what it may be about. Often, books I wouldn’t normally read turn out to be really good.

Anyway, Scar Night was good. It was complicated and dark, but not bad. The main characters were Rachel Hael, a failed assassin, Dill, an angel, and Carnival, another angel who ends up killing the god of death and drinking his blood. A really important thing to remember in these books is that blood contains the soul.

Iron Angel is in three parts. Part One dealt with Rachel and her companion, Trench, and a mysterious person named John Anchor and his companion, a cutthroat. Part Two dealt with Dill, the god Hasp, the thaumaturge Mina Green, and the currently dead girl Alice Harper. Part Three has some Dill, a lot of Harper and Hasp, a bit of Mina and Rachel, and hardly any of the cutthroat or Anchor.

It was totally confusing. Almost the entire time. About 2/3 of the way through, I realized there was another book after it (God of Clocks) and I stopped waiting for the plot to resolve. I enjoyed it, yeah, but it felt like I was missing something. A whole new situation came up that wasn’t even hinted at (well, no, it was very obliquely hinted at once) in Scar Night. Dill was dull, the endless blood was tiring, and several happenings were extremely convenient. The most ridiculous part of the book was in Part 3 when several people each claiming to be the White Sword (the best sword fighter in the land) killed each other. And then, they were all working for one side or the other. It made me think of the Power Rangers for some reason.

Favorite character: John Anchor. He’s just cool. No clue what his story might be though. Least favorite: Dill. He’s just so useless. Actually, I really liked Hasp too. He was pretty awesome. I liked Jones also, because he seemed useful and capable.

It ended on a cliffhanger, and reviews say the next book is better, so I’ll try it. I’m not sure if I recommend Iron Angel, but I definitely recommend Scar Night.

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The Awakening

Working my way down my unread book stack, I next came to The Awakening by Kate Chopin. This book was mentioned in my history book (The American Pageant) as part of the literary movement of the turn of the century. So, it came out in 1899. My edition has 190 pages. After it came out, it was banned in many places and taken off the shelves of libraries. The author was denied entrance to the Fine Arts Club. Because of this novel’s reception, Chopin was never able to publish another novel.

The story follows Edna Pontellier, a married woman with two young children. One summer, she and her family spend time at the Grand Isle, a kind of beach resort. There she meets Robert Lebrun and falls in love. When the summer ends and Robert goes to Mexico, Edna returns home a different person. Her change and her friends’ and neighbors’ responses to it, affect her way of thinking and lead inevitably to the end.
I’m nt going to say more than that on the plot of the book if I can help it. In Latin, when I was a bit over halfway through the book, Mark told me what happens in the end. It didn’t bother me too much because it’s not a suspenseful book or anything, but some people don’t like that kind of thing. I will say it’s not happy. Instead I’m going to talk about the book itself.
One of the things I always hate is when a book by a male writer is praised for how well it relates the depth of female emotion. I really don’t like it when these reviews are written by men. Chopin really shows the depth of the female mind, as from a female writer. I’m a girl and though Edna is over a century ago, her thought process is easily followed.

…A week and a half later, I return.

The book says some really thematic  things about a woman’s responsibility to her children and her husband. Maybe because I just had to read As I Lay Dying for English, but I think Edna is rather clouded in her judgment. Addie Bundren, in AILD despises her children and her husband, and so feels no obligation to them. Edna however feels affection for her husband and children. At least, she enjoys the time she spends with them. Of course, she more enjoys the time she spends without them, liberated. Well, if a woman has kids, whether she’s still with the husband or not, she owes them. She gave them life. Adele, perhaps a foil to Edna because she is overly wifey and motherly, whispers, “Think of the children, Edna. Remember them!” To Adele, her children are of the utmost importance. Edna on the other hand, and this is the thing that bothers me, has thoughts like this: “The children appeared before her like antagonists who had overcome her, who had overpowered and sought to drag her into the soul’s slavery for the rest of her days.” Wow, dramatic. Especially since she only has 2 kids. Plus, they are both a little older and not dependent on the mother. I understand that The Awakening is trying to show the struggle against the traditional woman’s place as baby machine, but having the protagonist have two children with a nurse and very little interaction doesn’t make sense.

Or maybe it does. Comments?

As with any older book, there are lots of different covers. I read the first one. These are a few of my favorites.

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River Marked

River Marked by Patricia Briggs came out yesterday. I passed it on the the next person on the reading list this morning. I didn’t sleep much last night. This is probably going to be sporadic and unhelpful.  So, don’t read this if you don’t want to know, because I’ll probably spoil some stuff. 336 pages hardback. 27$ from B&N.

River Marked River Marked

Okay, so River Marked is the 6th book in the Mercy Thompson series. I don’t think the series has a real name, just the Mercy Thompson books. There are two other books and a short story set in the same universe with some minor characters being the main characters. At the end of book the fifth, Silver Borne,  Mercy is rescued from being imprisoned by the evil Fae. Her and Adam…cement the mate bond and she moves in with him. Which is great, because her trailer burned down and the replacement is occupied by Jesse’s Gabriel. Anyway, River Marked begins with Adam and Mercy going to go be married soon. Actually, a lot of stuff about Stefan, her vampire friend, is revealed, that relates to events of the previous books. Basically, he’s being really emotional. To cheer him up, Mercy takes him to Warren and Kyle’s house for movies. Warren is my absolute favorite character. He’s an awesome gay, cowboy, werewolf guy. Kyle is his completely normal boyfriend. Other than this one scene, however, Warren and Stefan are in the story very little. This surprised me because I felt that a lot of possible plot lines were started-Stefan’s whole issue, the idea of there being an impossibly old super-evil-even-by-vampire-standards vampires in Europe (probably) somewhere. Another plot line not followed was of Samuel and Arianna, his new-found, long-lost love. Even in the 5th book, the relationship seemed forced. Not see each other for hundreds of years and now, completely in love. Arianna’s name was mentioned ONCE in the entire 6th book. Surely not that much time passed between the 5th and 6th. A couple months?

Mainly, the story follows Adam and Mercy on their honeymoon. So, yeah, there’s sex. It’s not graphic. Nudity? Tons. Like, the entire book, one or the other of them is nude. Or soaking wet. Language is mild, though once Adam nearly says the F-word. That scene was funny.

Off topic. Okay-the ‘villain’ if you can call it that is rather nice. One of the good things about non-human evil beings is that you don’t have to worry so much about motivation. It’s evil because it is evil. That’s how it works. Least favorite character is Wolf. He’s just obnoxious. And he causes problems. I hate people like that.

Overall-great book. Extremely funny. The very, very end made me almost cry. Oh, another thing. My other absolute favorite character, Bran, wasn’t in it much. This made me sad. But, really good plot. It answered a lot of questions about Mercy’s past and her heritage (Blackfeet, not Blackfoot).

I’m gonna go sleep now. And not read books so quickly like that again.

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