Reading Backwards

Book reviews by your favorite Git.

Mini Reviews (2006, July-December)

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Welcome to another edition of “Mini-Reviews Clumped Together Because I Was Too Lazy To Dedicate a Full Page to Each One.” This one covers books read between July and December 2006. (#22-51 of the 50 Book Challenge)

Included:

  • The Invisible Ring (Anne Bishop, Black Jewels spin-off)
  • The Seven Daughters of Eve (Non-Fiction)
  • Rebel Angels (Libba Bray)
  • Thoroughly Kissed (Romance, Fairy Tale)
  • The Chronicles of Chrestomanci 1 & 2 (Fairy Tale, Kids)

The Invisible Ring

Invisible Ring

By Anne Bishop
Read: High school, again in 2006
Rating: Decent
Part of the Black Jewels Realms, prequel-ish.

I have to say, once you’ve gone Sadi, you can never go back. Daemon does show up here, but very briefly. It’s set several hundred years (500? 300? Something like that.) before Jaenelle’s birth, so Sadi has that antsy “I’m waiting for my lady” quality. You can safely read this before the others.

Aside from Daemon, it’s a whole new cast. Jared is a slave and a Warlord who wears the Red. He’s back on the market and loathing everyone around him… until a small, old, gray woman comes up to him–and then he is terrified. Of course the Gray Lady purchases him, along with several others, and they begin their journey to her lands. Jared quickly determines that there is something strange about this woman. She is a Gray Queen (the last truly powerful woman left in Dorothea’s expanding sphere of influence), and yet she is not cruel to any of them and bought slaves who would typically be considered useless. But all is not as it seems, and illusions play a central role in their run from Dorothea, who wants to eliminate the last, frail threat to her power.

Not as good as the others, but decent.

The Seven Daughters of Eve7Eve
By Brian Sykes
Read: July 2006
Rating: Cool

Can you believe I made it through an entire nonfiction book? I did! And I enjoyed it, because A: It’s about a subject I’m very interested in, and B: Sykes’ style is very anecdotal and both respects the reader’s intelligence without inundating one in scientific garble.

The Seven Daughters of Eve are the term Sykes uses for the 7 distinct mitochondrial tribes that can be tracked across the globe. At the root of those tribes is a single woman–an Eve–who married the mitochondrial change that was passed on to all her descendants.

The first half of the book describes Sykes’ journey to this point, his scientific career, how he became involved in genetics, his early work with mitochondria, and so on. Because of his familiar tone it makes for easy and interesting reading–much like meeting him at a party and conversing with a stranger and what it is he ‘does.’ The second half is a strange cross between fiction and non-. Sykes dedicates a chapter to each of the seven women and narrates what their lives may have been like. Although the backgrounds are plausible–based on time period, region, etc.–but he also attaches stories and attributes significant social advances to these women. It’s a dangerous association, and it detracted from my enjoyment to see these women turned into social pioneers and not just genetic anomalies.

Still a decent read, though.


Rebel Angels Rebel Angels
By Libba Bray
Read: July 2006
Rating: VUNDEBAR.

I cannot say how much I LOVE these books. I’m waiting on tenterhooks for the third in the trilogy and so is everyone else, it seems. In this book, the foursome has been reduced to three. The loss of Pippa is sorely felt, but the girls must attempt to keep their spirits up over the winter holidays when they go to London to stay with their families.

This novel definitely becomes darker than AGATB. Gemma is pulled back into the other realm, but Kartik is watching her more closely as her father’s new coachman. London society welcomes the girls in, and Gemma finds herself with a suitor or two. While she battles with Victorian London’s many pressures, her own family is being wrenched apart: her widower father has become dependent on opiates and her older brother refuses to acknowledge the proble. At the same time the other realm is becoming corrupted by Circe’s influence, and the circle of friends begins to stretch and tear.

MORE, Libba, MORE!!

Thoroughly KissedThKiss
By Kristine Grayson
Read: November 2006
Rating: Fun

When I finished Utterly Charming I wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep reading about Emma Lost, the real Sleeping Beauty who wakes up to find herself 1000 years behind on the times and furious at her ‘protector’ who should have gotten her out of this mess much sooner. But as I thought about it, I decided I might… and then I discovered that the friend I had borrowed UC from had given me TK as well! I’m glad she did.

Our friend Emma has decided that she no longer wants to be dependent on anyone else for her safety or daily needs. She’s also pissed at Aethelstan. With the help of Nora and her family Emma gets herself a degree as a historian (studying ye olde England, of course) and writes a book or two about the time period. She knows things about the time that no one else does–that no one else could. The revolutionary research in her book makes her a media darling and multiple universities offer her teaching positions… including the one where Michael Found is the new head of the History department. He is not impressed by her ‘research’–because none of it can be corroborated. He believes her to be a fraud and makes no secret of his dislike for her methods. Nevertheless, they’re stuck working together.

Until Emma’s latent magic decides to kick in. Most women get their powers at 50. Emma being 30, she figures she has a while before she has to worry about that. But, being in a magical coma for 1000 years has fuddled with things somewhat and her powers begin acting up on their own left and right. She needs to reach a trained mage to help her gain control–but the only one she knows is Aethelstan, now several states away. She needs to reach him quickly, and the lesser of all evils means a road trip. She also needs someone who can look out for her in transit.

Michael seemed to take that whole ‘everthing in his office disappearing’ incident rather well… He could do it, right?

Like I said, fun. Also silly, but it is fairy tale. And the muses still rock. Definitely going to look out for more in this series.

The Chronicles of Chrestomanci
By Diana Wynne Jones
Read: December 2006
Rating: Meh

I got my hands on an omnibus edition, combining books 1 and 2. They’re cute-ish, mild, really for kids. I wasn’t as interested in these as I was with Jones’ other books (Howl’s Moving Castle? J’adore). These two books are both about very young boys (between the ages of 7 and 12). It’s probably the little girl in me, but I’ve never been overly partial to those. Sorry.

The first is the story of a little orphaned boy and his sister. She is a gigantic prat. They both become wards of Chrestomanci, a man in charge of policing the magical realms. The sister kicks up a fuss but the boy is… well, I don’t really know what he is. That’s the book for you. Kinda blah. He’s just too young to be really cool.

The second is about the first’s adult Chrestomanci’s childhood. It is far more interesting, as he does some real growing up in this book. Not only does he go world-hopping on his own, he also gets insight into people’s true characters and learns that he has been making himself into a really nasty little boy and resolves to change.

But I gotta say–Millie? Totally did not expect that.

I would give these to younger kids, they’d make good story-times, but I’m not going to seek them out for my own pleasure.

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Written by Shen

January 17, 2007 at 2:13 am

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