Teaser Tuesday: Stories of the Raksura, Volume 2

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! 

My Teasers:

“I helped you.” He was surprised, and bitterly angry at himself for it. This is how it always happened, this was what he got for helping groundlings.

– Stories of the Raskura, Volume 2, by Martha Wells.

A Reason Not to Read the End First

Me, I read the end of a book all the time. I do it randomly, sometimes to find out if a character I like will survive, things like that.

So last week I was reading the second Sharing Knife book, Legacy by  Lois McMaster Bujold. I read the end and then I read bits and pieces of the middle.

And you know what? It sucks. I really like the main characters. And the author destroys their lives.

I am not going to say it was unexpected. Despite not actually reading most of the book, this was an outcome that the author hinted at in the last book. She did more than hint in the first few pages of Legacy. So it wasn’t surprising.

But really! She rained wholesale destruction on their lives.

I have read – I don’t remember where – but I have read Lois McMaster Bujold say she likes to take the thing that their society likes least and do that to the characters. (I think that’s a really great way to murder your darlings.)

She does it in spades. By the end, they got almost nothing left for people to destroy. There is still hope, but yeah.

I am still shocked by what happens to them and I don’t know how or even if I will actually read the book.

I would probably have finished Legacy by now if I hadn’t read the end first. So, yeah, this is a reason not to read the end first.

Teaser Tuesday: Stories of the Raksura, Vol 1

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I am rereading this week!

My Teasers:

Argent broke off her dive and circled uncertainly above Indigo. Cerise saw her look down at her claws, checking for blood. Below her, Indigo dropped her spines submissively and shouted again, “I yield!”

Stories of the Raksura, Vol 1, by Martha Wells

S is for Series

Series abound in fantasy and science fiction. There are so many that finding stand alone books can be something of a challenge.

I guess two or three types of series.

  1. episodic series, where each book is an episode and can be read on its own without needing to read anything that came before. I am not sure there are too many pure examples of this type of series. You know, like the James Bond movies.
  2. a long long story broken up into several novels. (Because you can’t publish 50 million words worth of one story all at once!) Like Tolkien or Wheel of Time or Way of Kings. 
  3. I am not sure this counts as a separate type of series, but maybe? Anyway, the kind where the book has a stand alone-ish type plot of its own, so you have a conclusion at the end. But there is also a longer series plot and the episode plot sort of falls neatly into it. Harry Potter is like this. And so are a lot of TV shows. Maybe this is really just a subtype of 1 or 2. I don’t know.

There are also series that start out as episodic and turn into the series-as-a-long-novel. Actually, I think that’s when I fall behind on my reading.

That’s what happened with the Dresden files. That’s why I am so behind in this series, because I feel like, I didn’t get to read the previous book and now I can’t read this new book that just came out because I won’t know what’s going on.

The shift is really quite annoying.

What do you think?

M is for Magic

Magic is the thing I like best in books, especially in fantasy. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice with Micky Mouse and Sword in the Stone were probably the first fantasy I ever watched.

I loved Sword in the Stone and watched it over and over again.

These movies have no rules – not that I remember! – not like the rules of magic I countered in later books. But I love them anyway.

This is The Sorcerer’s Apprentice on YouTube:

I think, despite how old they both are, these two movies are still as good as when they were first made. And The Sorcerer’s Apprentice was first made in 1940 and The Sword in the Stone in 1963.

K is for Kill

I finished reading The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley recently.

It got me thinking: A lot of books have characters who kill. Maybe not easily, maybe not often, but in the course of the book, they kill sooner or later. Some do kill easily.

Some of them take killing more seriously: Anita Blake, Dexter, Valyn from The Emperor’s Blades and a quite a few others in the same book. Quite a few from other grimdark fantasy, too. (I like that word: grimdark.)

Someone like Anita Blake only turned into a killer later in the series; she didn’t start out killing very easily.

Dexter has been a serial killer since early childhood. Maybe he had kind and gentle feelings when he was born, but maybe not.

Valyn is a soldier. And, yeah, soldiers of all ilk kill. That is their job. And he is not without the gentler feelings. But he kills when he must.

But I wonder if, after lots of betrayal and treachery, if he manages to keep any of his gentler feelings.

I am dreading that he won’t. I don’t want to watch turn him an emotionless killer. I don’t think he will ever turn into Dexter (he doesn’t have quite that much childhood trauma!) but still. I am sort of dreading reading the next book.

Favorite Childhood Reread

I reread a favorite childhood book last book: The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley.

And it came to me: the book was written in a 3ed person omniscient POV.

I knew, of course, that it was written in 3rd person POV. But I haven’t read it in years and I’d somehow thought it was written it 3rd person limited.

I don’t know why. Maybe I am just so used to 3rd person limited. And back when I first read it, I didn’t know the difference between 3rd person limited and 3ed person omniscient.

The difference is so striking now, such a change from the usual stuff. It wasn’t confusing at all! But it is still as good as it was when I first read it.

I quite enjoyed it.

Book Review: The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

Blurb from GoodReads:

“One evening, my father asked me if I would like to become a ghost bride…”

Though ruled by British overlords, the Chinese of colonial Malaya still cling to ancient customs. And in the sleepy port town of Malacca, ghosts and superstitions abound.

Li Lan, the daughter of a genteel but bankrupt family, has few prospects. But fate intervenes when she receives an unusual proposal from the wealthy and powerful Lim family. They want her to become a ghost bride for the family’s only son, who recently died under mysterious circumstances. Rarely practiced, a traditional ghost marriage is used to placate a restless spirit. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a home for the rest of her days, but at a terrible price.

After an ominous visit to the opulent Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also by her desire for the Lim’s handsome new heir, Tian Bai. Night after night, she is drawn into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, with its ghost cities, paper funeral offerings, vengeful spirits and monstrous bureaucracy—including the mysterious Er Lang, a charming but unpredictable guardian spirit. Li Lan must uncover the Lim family’s darkest secrets—and the truth about her own family—before she is trapped in this ghostly world forever.

 

I really enjoyed The Ghost Bride. The concept is new to me, a living woman married to the ghost of dead man.

The villains: stalker ghost and his deceased family.

My favorite: the afterlife.

Things I expected, but didn’t get:

  • From the blurb, I thought she was a ghost bride. She got a proposal, but there was no wedding.
  • There was a trial of the villains and I would have liked to see it. I guess only the results mattered to the main character, but the omission of the trial disappointed me.

Things I Liked Least: the romance wasn’t especially convincing.

The afterlife in this book is complicated, complete with bribery and corruption, demons and dragons who serve as minor government officials. I loved it. But I really love ghosts and dragons.

The ghost stalks her from the afterlife, and had he lived, I cannot think he would be much different. If he had lived and she had married into the household (their fathers had a childhood arrangement for her marry the cousin). I think he would have been an awful in-law, the kind who would hit on her and retaliate when she refused.

He haunts her dreams and insists she marry him. He sets up a party in her dreams, complete with unappetizing spirit food, and is upset when she rejects him.

She goes to see a medium, who gives her some medicine to keep the stalker ghost away. But one day it stops working, so she takes a lot more and gets so sick her soul is ejected from her body.

That’s when the book gets interesting. She meets hungry ghosts, a dragon, and she goes to the Plains of the Dead. The Plains is the underworld, with little villages and cities of ghosts. It is wonderful. This portrayal of the spirit world was amazing. This is my favorite part of the book.

The character comes into her own here. It stands in her good with her romance with the cousin of her stalker.

So . . . Girl sees boy; girl thinks she’s in love with boy. Truthfully, this romance never worked for me. I mean, he’s a good guy. But it just happened so fast. She visits him in his dreams and he burns a horse for her (she finds it very helpful in the Plains of the Dead). So I can’t see the romance was useless. But I think it was more lust at first sight rather than love at first sight.

In fact, I think, she fell in lust with the dragon, too. Who can blame her? And no human can compete with a dragon. She left with him in the end, but I don’t buy she’s is in love with him. Plus, he rescued her. So he’s a good guy, too.

In the end, I really, really enjoyed the books. The descriptions were marvelous. The story moved forward at a fairly brisk pace. It was well-written. You should read it, especially if you like ghosts.

Teaser Tuesday: The Ghost Bride

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser:
image

The graves were made like small houses or very large armchairs, with wings on either side to encompass a central tablet and small altar. The paths up the hills were overgrown with weeds and lalang, the sharp elephant grass that cuts you if you run finger along it.

– The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

Teaser Tuesday: Heritage of Cyador

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser:

As he half fills the beaker, he replies, “I don’t seek risks. I try to do only what is necessary.”

“That can be the greatest risk of all.”

– Heritage of Cyador  by L. E. Modesitt