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I am at Rachel's house and Rachel is next to me. That is the power of trains.

Here is Rachel: "Andy doesn't like animal crackers! Why not, yo?"

Why not, indeed. Meanwhile, I read some books last month. Perhaps everybody has seen enough of these posts by now that I don't need to rephrase my assumptions and expectations?
Ken MacLeod, Learning the World
Steven Brust, The Paths of the Dead
Steven Brust, The Lord of Castle Black
Steven Brust, Sethra Lavode
C.J. Cherryh, Chanur's Legacy
Roger Zelazny, Isle of the Dead
Diana Wynne Jones, The Pinhoe Egg
Tim Powers, Declare
Rob Thomas, Slave Day
Rachelagain: "I like animal crackers."

The year is new! I am still at Rachel's house. (Her Monmouth house, so technically, as she reminds me inaudibly to livejournal, her parents'.) All right, then. I should post this before the book-stuff is overwhelmed by nonsense.

Date: 2007-01-02 06:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Talk about Pinhoe Egg and Slave Day! I believe they are the only books by their respective authors that I haven't read.

Wait, no, I've never read Eight Days of Luke either.

Date: 2007-01-15 08:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Is that so that you can always say to yourself that there's a really good Diana Wynne Jones book you haven't read yet? Because I don't know if I think that's worth not reading Eight Days of Luke. :-p (It was the first of hers I read, though, so it holds a bit of a special place for me.)

The Pinhoe Egg (he said, noticing this comment still sitting patiently open more than a week later, oops) is probably my favourite recent Diana Wynne Jones book; it's at least as good as The Merlin Conspiracy, which previously held that title. A lot of the stuff she's written in the past decade or so seems a little flat to me; not awful, but too mechanical in both the plots and the magic to really excite and awe me the way the old ones do. (This may be just me, of course, but when I do rediscover one of the books from her 'prime', they've still got it.) Egg falls into occasional lulls of flatness, which may come of being so unusually long (my copy was over 500 pages), but for the most part I thought it was a return to form for being graceful and marvellous both.

(There's a scene that she's able to put at the end of the Chrestomanci books where Chrestomanci gathers everyone together like an Agatha Christie detective, and explains everything, and hands down appropriate punishments to the nasty characters and rewards the likeable ones. I'm a little embarrassed at how satisfying I find this scene, every time.)

The only Rob Thomas book I'd read before this was Rats Saw God; I'm pretty sure that either that or Slave Day I like better, and the other one actually is better, but I keep changing my mind about which is which. Rats had, from what I remember, a much narrower focus: it was about this one guy, outlining and putting into context the defining trauma of his high-school life. It was all from his point of view, and the other characters were important to the degree that they were important to him. This allowed me to get really invested in his concerns, and made the eventual collapse of those concerns successfully harrowing.

Slave Day has a different sort of strength, which I recognize from Veronica Mars: instead of one point of view character, there is something like eight, and they're (nearly) all sympathetic, surprisingly intelligent, and in many cases at genuine cross purposes. I like whatever one calls that thing that Thomas has, which is like cynicism, but isn't dismissive, and I like the slightly subversive way he takes a basic premise that Gordon Korman might have written on, and fills it thoughtfully with that.

-Andy H.

Date: 2007-01-16 12:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I had no idea whether Eight Days of Luke was one of the good ones or not. I will have to go out and get it right now! If I can find it. (Howl's Moving Castle was my first, and would have a special place even if it hadn't been.)

I think the thing Rob Thomas has is called "shrewdness."

Date: 2007-01-02 11:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Seriously, animal crackers and I go way back. Not gonna lie.


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Andy H.

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