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Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Old Man's War by John Scalzi

The Compass Rose by Gail Dayton

The Girl Who Heard Dragons by Anne McCaffrey

The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde

The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine

The Sharing Knife by Lois McMaster Bujold

It's a mixed bag this week, y'all. First, Scalzi.

Fantastic. Can't say enough good things about Old Man's War. I don't read much hard sci-fi, but this was great. A little reminiscent of Starship Troopers, but better. Rich characterization, true depth of emotion. In this story, soldiers are recruited from Earth to fight in space, but they don't take the young, strong, and fearless. They take the old and weak. You have to be at least 75 years old to join up. What the army in space wants is those years of life experience. The main character in this book is truly an old head on young shoulders. I'm going to start looking for Scalzi's follow-up, The Ghost Brigade.

Like so many Luna books, The Compass Rose left me cold. The journey aspect of this fantasy was passable, but the relationships were what held the book together. Pretty weak glue, if you ask me. I admit it. I'm a traditionalist. There may be a book out there that can make me believe a romantic relationship can exist between more than two people, but I haven't found it yet. And this sure as heck ain't it. The main character, Kallista, is a powerful warrior who controls fire and uses it against her enemies. Her main squeeze is her bodyguard. But not just her bodyguard. No. She gets herself married to no less than three other men. Yep. Four guys. Kallista sandwich, anyone? Strangely enough, this book isn't really erotic. It's not really romantic, either. And it's a little weak on the plot. Blah.

The Girl Who Heard Dragons is an anthology of short stories, some of which have to do with Pern -- the title story -- but many of which are unique. As with all anthologies, some stories are wonderful and some are merely space fillers. I'll keep it for the great stories.

The Big Over Easy. Hilarious!! Jack Spratt runs the Nursery Crime Division in Reading. His current case? Humpty Dumpty. Did he jump or was he murdered? The story weaves in nursery characters from all over with a huge dose of humor and sly wit. As with his Thursday Next series (also a favorite), you need to be up on your childhood rhymes to catch all the allusions. Highly recommended.

The Two Princesses of Bamarre is by the author of Ella Enchanted. Carson Levine writes books for the 'tween girl. Just about where my DD is now. While I've enjoyed some of her retold fairy tales, this book seemed like just one more in a rut of Grrl Power stories. The cowardly princess gets a backbone and slays the dragon to save her sister. There's a sweet romance in there that feels a little spoiled at the end. Overall, a "C" grade story.

And finally, we get to my Pick of the Week. Shoot. This may be my Pick of the Month. The Sharing Knife by Lois McMaster Bujold. Recently, I read a couple of her Vorkosigan stories and, though the book won't be on my keeper shelf, it was readable enough. This is a complete departure. Pure fantasy, for one thing, and pure romance. And Oh My God is it romantic. Heart thumping, sappy smile, awwww-inducing romantic. For one, it's such a wonderful treat to see a really great heroine, 18 years old, who, simply by being herself, is the perfect foil for a much older, more experienced hero.

There's very little of the condescending "I know more than you ever will" attitude from Dag, the soldier, because the situations in which he finds himself are actually quite out of his experience. Fawn, the little farmer girl, is both a helpmeet and an equal for him. The dangers they face are both fantastic and ordinary. Yet they face them together, neither taking the other for granted.

The Sharing Knife is the first of a series and I eagerly await the next installment. I reviewed the book for Romance Divas, so I'll link to the review when it goes up. 5 Kisses, all the way.
11/07/2006 11:09:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 8 Comments

8 Comments:

Oooo, I can't wait to read The Sharing Knife! Though I hear it's the first of a two-parter so I hope that's not a problem.

I'm a Miles fan, too.

By Anonymous Jorrie Spencer, at 11:49 AM  

Some people had trouble with that, from what I understand, but I don't mind waiting for the rest. I thought it ended at a good spot for a follow-up.

By Blogger Sela Carsen, at 11:51 AM  

I liked the Compass Rose. But as far as a romance? No.

By Blogger Eva Gale, at 1:56 PM  

Oh, you made my day! Books Books!

By Blogger S William, at 1:30 AM  

Well, I'll definitely have to read The Sharing Knife, but I think I'll wait till part two comes out. I've got enough suspense waiting for the next JR Ward. :D

You do great reviews, Sela!

By Blogger Robin L. Rotham, at 12:47 PM  

You're Back! Yay!!!!!

The sharing Knife sounds great. I'll keep an eye out for it. :)

By Blogger Sasha White, at 6:17 PM  

Ditto Sasha

By Blogger Babe King, at 4:39 AM  

Thanks for the welcome backs, everyone. Glad you enjoyed the reviews! I just like talking about all the books I read.

By Blogger Sela Carsen, at 9:08 PM  

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