Cold Iron & Rowan-Wood

February 24, 2011

A couple more DNFs – Cast, MacAlister

Filed under: review — Tags: , , — Sam @ 1:26 pm

PC Cast, Goddess of Spring: a reimagining of the Persephone myth, in which Demeter decides to teach her daughter responsibility by having her switch places with an Italian-American bakery owner, and sending the latter to look after Hades. Hades, of course, is brooding but hot, and there are happy endings all around—at least, as far as I could tell from a quick skim forwards. It is, to say the least, a bold reinterpretation of the myth. The thing that annoyed me most, however, was the name of the protagonist’s bakery: Pani del Goddess. I don’t even speak Italian, and I can tell that none of those three words are correct; ten seconds’ research confirmed that.

Katie MacAlister, Love in the Time of Dragons: I picked this one up because the idea of urban fantasy which actually had dragons in intrigued me, and because I’m a sucker for lost-memory plots. Unfortunately, the “dragons” turned out to be functionally equivalent to werewolves, and I hate werewolf books even more than I hate badly-done fairies. Humans who can shapechange into monsters; hierarchical clan structures (led by a “wyvern”, which apparently means “drama queen” rather than “smaller, less powerful & intelligent dragon”); unreasonable possessiveness; big men dick-slapping each other at the slightest opportunity; and pissing on lamp-posts. Clearly, these are just suspiciously lizardy werewolves, and being tricked into reading a book about werewolves really annoys me.

Until I saw this quotation, I was mentally encouraging the heroine to dump the lot of them and find someone worth it, but frankly, after this they’re welcome to her, on the basis that then none of them will make anyone else miserable.

My heart warmed. I couldn’t help it. Oh, he was being arrogant and pushy and domineering, but none of that really mattered, not when I could see the insecurity and fear that he tried so hard to keep from me.

February 14, 2011

DNF fantasies

Filed under: sf — Tags: , , , , — Sam @ 2:53 pm

I’ve a couple of books here I couldn’t get through, so consider this a review of about the first third or half of each. I may go back to either or both, but right now I have better things to read.

The Adamantine Palace, by Stephen Deas: This one reads like a cross between Pern and A Song of Ice and Fire, and neither dragons nor royal politics hold a great deal of interest for me these days. It’s not badly written; it’s just not for me.

Blood of Elves, by Andrzej Sapkowski (trans. Danusia Stock): I picked this up because I hadn’t read anything so thoroughly Trad Fantasy in a long time, and because translated fiction (especially Eastern European, for some reason) always appeals to me a little more. The basic premise of it was fine if formulaic (orphaned royal heir adopted and trained by mystic warrior society, some sort of Prophecy going on in the background) but I got bogged down somewhere around the extended training montage and travelling scenes.

I’m also quite likely not to finish The Edge of the World, by Kevin J Anderson: I wouldn’t have got beyond the first few pages if it hadn’t been the only book I had with me on a long tube journey. The worldbuilding-mystery is interesting, but since this is apparently Book 1 of N, I’m not likely to get much payoff from it, and the writing style is very generalized, disengaged, and notional—very much tell rather than show.

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