First of all, I have never enjoyed an audio book as much as this one. At least half a star is for that alone. The story was quite the exciting romp through the world of the Gentleman Bastards. I don’t know how to say much without spoiling the book for people, but suffice it to say that if you enjoyed The Lies of Locke Lamora you will most likely enjoy Red Seas Under Red Skies. Jean & Locke are definitely up to no good and it doesn’t always work out for them. Still, to paraphrase one of Jean’s more memorable lines, they’re the biggest, baddest motherfuckers in the room.
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It is not beyond the realm of possibility that this book would have waited from being finished in February to being reviewed in July even had my year not been inhumanely busy. Despite the disgustingly hot weather, I have goose bumps thinking about it.
The Terror is taken from the name one half of a pair of ships sent on an Arctic expedition at some point when reinforcement technology for ice breaking ships still involved the types of wood used in conjunction with some iron. Near the beginning a character thinks to himself that the number of awards given to the returning commanders of these expeditions seems to be higher the more lives are lost. I’m inclined to agree.
This book was dark, dirty, and above all cold. To steal from the inimitable karen’s review, “oh my god, let me never get scurvy.” There are many things I could add to that list. I have no idea how realistic it may be, but the descriptions of the conditions experienced by the people on those ships make me wish I could forget hearing them.
Sadly, I feel the same way about much of the element of this book that throws it into the fantasy heap. It somehow went from a scary thing that could have been made frightening to a rather campy and eventually lame rehashing of a mythology that I suspect is nowhere near as simplistic as it seems. The last 10 or so chapters could have been left off the book. More HMS Terror and less of the Terror would have made this a far better book.
Fool Moon by Jim Butcher
I enjoyed Fool Moon more than I did Storm Front, which I definitely enjoyed. Harry was still stupidly overprotective of other people in a way which put them in more danger than they would have been otherwise, but at least there was less “omg, the wimmenz, they need protecting and coddling” bullshit. I also found the story more interesting. Where the first book bounced around in a way that I found confusing at times, the pace of the second was pretty good. The audio is also great. I recommend listening to these. I’m looking forward to the next one!
Small Gods by Terry Pratchett
I don’t even know how to express just how much I loved Small Gods. I really, really, really enjoyed reading this. Sure, that may have been because my boyfriend’s great love of turtles has rubbed off on me. It may have been a devious glee at the thought of a petulant little god who never considered that he should do anything for his believers. The great library and the hilarious stereotype of the philosophers in Ephebe certainly didn’t hurt. Nor did the penguin. Or the history monk. Vorbis was creepy as hell, which added a slight touch of reality. Seriously, go read this. Now. Go!
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was better than Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Coming from me, that pretty much falls into the “damning with faint praise” category. There were some parts of this book I really enjoyed, especially some of the character development with the Weasley kids. Overall though…well, if you don’t mind obscenities or spoilers, my complete thoughts are in the rant below.
Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews
Magic Strikes is my favorite of the Kate Daniels novels to date. I chalk this up to really liking Derek’s and Dali’s characters. Derek in particular gained more dimension in this installment. Dali was really funny, while also plucky. At risk of spoilers, all I am going to say is that there are gladiator games and Kate & Curran end up on opposing sides of an issue in a much more concrete way than they have before. Simon also receives an interesting treatment. Overall, I enjoyed this read quite a bit.
A friend highly recommended this, so another friend & I decided to buddy read it. I have to say, I enjoyed it, although there were definite flaws, hence the 3.5 rating. To get them out of the way first, the flaws: too much talk about badassery at the beginning of the book but not enough actual ass kicking and far, far too much talk about her braid and lack of beauty. I don’t care what she looks like, damn it. *sigh* Losing argument, I know. As for the things I enjoyed: the fact that she seemed to slightly change her mind about some other people but not drastically, the fact that she’s not even remotely invincible, and the fact that she fucked up the relationship with the doctor rather than it being revealed that he’s just drastically inferior to Curran, speaking of whom, does not sound like a lion in the books so why is he a lion on the covers?
If you even remotely like urban fantasy with female leads, give this a shot. It’s neither steampunk nor a romance.