I bought a kindle fire this Christmas and spent much of my holiday break reading. It was a refreshing thing to do and since this is also when I finally finished the second draft of the book, I feel like it was a beneficial thing to do. The kindle fire is a very nice piece of technology. I bought the lowest priced model, which is about half the price of an iPad. And that’s exactly what it feels like, half an iPad. Which is fine since I really just wanted a reader. As a reader it is fantastic, especially once I figured out how to download the Nook App onto it so I can read pretty much any digital book I want.
So what did I read?
Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone
This came to my attention from one of the blogs I read. I decided to purchase it because it looked interesting and had a good presence in the reviews. It was probably my favorite of these four as well. Good characters, excellent world building, and a solid plot. Nothing disappointed. The magic is interesting and what really impressed me was that it leaves enough to the imagination that it doesn’t have to waste time trying to fill in every little detail, yet you still feel like there are a good set of rules that have a logic about them.
Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig
A good but hard read. I love Wendig’s style of writing, it flows more smoothly than just about any author I’ve ever read. His characters are well defined as well, but it kind of crapped out near the end for me. The reason its hard to read is the nasty feeling the book leaves behind. The whole thing is just filthy. There aren’t any horrible moments or incredibly depraved scenes, but everything from the language and personality of our heroine to the description of much of the rural south just makes it feel like you have a layer of grime on your hands. That’s the point, and it works, but it doesn’t make it easier to swallow.
Empire State by Adam Christopher
This is my least favorite of the bunch. There were some moments that were really, really interesting but they never lead up to anything. The climax was so confusing I don’t even really know what happened and there were so many double crosses that I just stopped paying attention. There was potential here, but it wasn’t realized.
Thinblade by David A. Wells
This one pulled me in two directions. On one hand, I love his characters and their development, love the system of magic, and in the good scenes I couldn’t put the book down. On the other hand, it has a tone and language of writing straight out of the eighties (think Brooks or one of the other classic high fantasy authors) and it seems dated in that sense. It can seem cluttered because descriptions have more than they should, leaving nothing to your imagination. The dialogue can be unnatural and the exposition (this is my biggest problem) can be very, very clumsy. A lot of the characters doing the exposition are tutors, so I get it, but the grizzled warrior bodyguard shouldn’t shift into professor mode the same way the tubby alchemist wizard does. Overall, a definite must read and I’ve already bought the second.
And now I am reading The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling. Not even done with the first chapter so all I can say is I love the map.