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Sarah Rees Brennan, The Demon's Lexicon
John Scalzi, The Ghost Brigades
CJ Cherryh, Foreigner
Adam-Troy Castro, Emissaries from the Dead
Emma Bull and Will Shetterly (editors), Liavek
Octavia Butler, Fledgling
In a startling break from habit, I was going to review some of these unbidden, but now I'm sick and scattered and late so I'm just going to put up some disorganized points I'd meant to touch on. (Edit: Actually, these ended up looking pretty much like the reviews I write anyway.)

  • The Demon's Lexicon is a YA 'Bothari story', about somebody who is (or might be) constitutionally amoral, but doing their best anyway; I have a soft spot for those. Despite the noiry, bloody-minded aesthetic of the prose, the sensibilities and the outcomes of its magical worldbuilding put me in mind of the best of Diana Wynne Jones.

  • The Liavek books were a late-eighties shared world anthology series with an unusual concentration of authors I make a point of seeking out; I found all of them but the fourth one in a used book store and was tempted into an intemperance. This one was most notable as far as I'm concerned for the new-to-me Pamela Dean story, which surprised me with its quiet viciousness (though like most of Dean's endings, it left ambiguous room for things to be better).

  • Fledgling is the first Octavia Butler book I've read. Like a lot of books I really like (even though I don't particularly care about vampires), it's in that subgenre that assumes the reader's knowledge of conventional vampire myths and plays new and clever riffs on them, but there's really a lot more that it's doing than that, about race and community and the ethics of our relationships to one another and having the plot continually fail to keep the shape you'd expect given what's happened so far. I did, in fact, really like it, and would really like to read more in the same milieu, but since it was published immediately before her death that's sadly unlikely. At least there's still all the books she wrote before.

My body is in open revolt, and appropriately revolting; now that my busy week of pressing schoolwork is done with I have fond hopes to spend the long weekend sitting in my house blowing my nose and doing nothing with any particular urgency.
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Andy H.

February 2013

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